Children are your closest family members. Therefore, even though you may try to minimize the impact of your illness on them, they’re the people who absorb it the most.
Nearly 9 million children live with parents who struggle with addiction in the United States. If you’re on the path to recovery from a substance use disorder, it’s important to understand how your addiction impacts your most vulnerable loved ones.
Keep on reading to learn more.
Suffering From Lack Of Resources
A stable home with consistency and care is essential to the development of every child. As kids grow, they tend to rely on parents to thrive both physically and mentally.
Though drug addicts make an effort to provide stability for their kids, their illness consumes time and resources that could otherwise be spent on family. Children suffer from lack of food, clothing, and utilities when a parent’s mind is occupied with chasing the next high.
It’s the nature of drug addiction to lead to misuse of resources. Therefore, even if you’d rather spend money and time on your kids, your illness won’t let you do so until you’re in recovery.
Kids who live with drug-addicted caregivers are exposed to adult situations on a regular basis. As a result, they mature too fast for their age.
Often, kids take care of their drug-addicted parents after bouts of substance abuse. They take charge of younger siblings and make family decisions. Such situations are too taxing for minors to handle.
Kids of substance abusers become emotionally disconnected from their parents, partially because they’re overwhelmed with the weight of adult situations, and partially because of parental emotional neglect.
If you’re consumed with addiction, your emotions aren’t spared on parent/child relationships. You aren’t able to provide consistent, warm understanding and communication. This affects children’s mental health, which then snowballs into their social lives. School can become a problem for them as well.
A helpful step toward recovery, such as planning to go to rehab, can begin to repair your relationship with your children. Furthermore, it can boost their confidence and mental health, and help them on their paths to self-care
Even if children of addicts aren’t abusing substances themselves, they experience physical effects of addiction. Parents may abuse their children under the influence of controlled substances. Also, children may suffer from a lack of a healthy diet, a lack of sleep, and untreated medical issues.
As a substance abuser, you may not realize how your children are affected physically until you recover. Of course, you want your kids to be healthy. But under the influence of drugs, your judgment is impaired, and you’re oblivious to sensitive issues like putting your child’s diet first.
Impacts Of Addiction Beyond Childhood
Did you know that your children are genetically predisposed to drug addiction if you struggle with controlled substance abuse? Genetics coupled with environmental pressures can cause kids to choose drugs and become addicts early.
Not every child of an alcoholic will become an alcoholic, too, but the risk is greater the longer a parent is without treatment. In addition to genetic and environmental pressures, adult children of addicts face lifelong mental struggles which can lead them to addiction as well.
Of course, it’s difficult to think of your children suffering in various ways because of your substance control issues. These hard truths can motivate you to take steps toward recovery, though. You can minimize your impact on your children’s lives by improving your own.
Start by seeking out recovery resources and attending recovery events. Then, if possible, talk to your children about the ways your addiction affects them. This way, through frank communication and mutual support, you can heal together.