How A Child See's Alcoholism
Children who live with or come in close contact with Alcoholics experience the consequences of the disease up
close and at times in a very person manner.
They witness the destruction, the out of control behavior and the aftermath of the drinking events.
They, especially if very young, will feel helpless to stop or control the actions or consequences of the
Children, who rely on the alcoholic for their care, may often have to wait until the person recovers from bouts
of uncontrolled drinking before they can eat, or receive other basic care. Often there are financial consequences
of drinking such as destruction of property, or loss of money that directly affects the children in the
The old adage that children see, children do, applies to the drinking of alcohol. When children are exposed to
those who accept using alcohol as a means to cope with life, they will likely learn to copy the attitudes and
behaviors of those they live with or those who they are exposed to on a consistent basis. These people include:
Parents Siblings, Babysitters Relatives Neighbors Teachers and Organizational Staff Friends and the parents of
The Journal of American Medical Association has included the statistic that alcohol has been "the leading
contributor to, the leading causes of death among young people in the United States."
This means that our kids today, are likely to have to come to grips with the death of someone (sibling,
classmate, friend) they know and love as a result of a alcohol-related death. This could include alcohol-related
traffic accidents, accidents in the home, alcohol poisoning of infants/toddlers in the home, to name a few
Death is a difficult concept for young children to process. It will have a great impact on them now and into
their future. The statistics are alarming, and the scars left are deep.
The Statistics: There are approximately one in four children who will be exposed to alcoholism
in their family. Children of parents who suffer from Alcoholism are at significant risk to become Alcoholics
Did You Know
In recent years, the Justice System has begun to hold drunk drivers responsible for
the damages they have caused. This goes beyond holding them legally responsible and now
including monetary restitution to the victims and their families.
Another new weapon that is being used in the war against drunk driving is an
intolerant legal system. It is a waste of time these days
for a drunk driver to get an attorney and try to get a reduced sentence by pleading to a lesser
Although the laws differ from state to state, most states no longer allow even
first time offenders to get way without feeling the consequences of their driving under the
In most states now even a first time offender faces a lengthy suspension of their
license and at least a weekend in jail. In order to get
their license back, most states require the offenders to attend a DUI school, which includes an
assessment with a professional counselor.
Many states have passes what is called the Habitual Violator Law, which provides
felony penalties for three DUI convictions. These
violators lose their licenses permanently if not for many years and lose their civil liberties such
as the right to vote or own a weapon.
The attitudes of the adults influence how the children view alcohol, especially the attitudes of their parents.
Studies have shown that children who have older siblings who drink, especially same sex siblings are also at a
significant higher risk to pick up the same drinking habits.
According to the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine: Children who themselves drink before age 14
are 47% more likely to become dependent on alcohol. One study of 5th through 11th grade students (from the
annual meeting of the Research Society of Alcoholism out of Montreal, Quebec, Canada), found that advertising
fostered favorable attitudes towards drinking in these youth.
Talk to someone if you find that drinking is becoming a problem.
Seek the assistance of Alcoholics Anonymous.
That's what they are there for.
According to "Monitoring the Future", a 2006 survey conducted at the University of Michigan News and
Information Services: at least 20% of 8th graders and 41% of 10th graders have been drunk at least once.
There is a cultural difference in the rates of drinking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (2006): 29.9% of non-Hispanic white students, 11.1 % of African American students, and 25.3% of
Hispanic students are pro binge drinking.