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Its Effect on Your Child

Researchers have found that children of alcoholics run a greater risk of becoming alcoholics.

health and fitness Updated: Jun 25, 2003 20:04 IST

The home atmosphere obviously has a major part to play in the development of a child’s personality. When there is a lot of disturbance in the household, the child tries to cope with it in one of the following ways:

By Being rebellious: Some children become angry and aggressive at an early age. They are confused and scared and respond in a negative manner. It is quite possible that these children have tried normal behaviour and have been ignored. Now their negative actions attract attention. Even if it is for scolding, they seem to count! They like this sense of power. Children of alcoholics run a greater risk of becoming alcoholics themselves.

By Being responsible: The eldest child often tries to play the adult role. The eldest boy would probably take his inebriated parent home or get the parent to bed and clear away the bottles and the mess that the parent has made. The girl child would play mother, when its mother is coping with the drunk father, and take care of the house and help the younger children. To others, this child might seem exemplar. But the child itself suffers the loss of a carefree childhood. Later in life the child might suffer stress-related illnesses.

By adjusting: Some children do not make demands. They do what they are told. They detach themselves emotionally, physically and socially as much as possible. They try to avoid confrontation. It is surely a peaceful way of coping. But these children grow up to be submissive adults. They find it difficult to assert themselves or say ‘no’ in any situation. So they get pushed around in job situations, relationships and even at home.

By placating: Some children try to mediate when there is a problem whether it is between the parents or between their siblings and the alcoholic. They are aware of the emotional needs of others and try to prevent suffering. They even put themselves to risk when doing this. These warm, sensitive and caring children neglect to take care of themselves.


First Published: Jun 25, 2003 20:04 IST