There are more than 28 million children in the United States who are subject to physical, emotional and verbal abuse at the hands of parents who are addicted or dependent on drugs and/or alcohol. Nearly half are under the age of 18. Unfortunately, this trend tends to run in families with the male children being the most vulnerable to repeat the pattern.
Children exposed to this unstable environment are subject to behaviors which can and will likely damage social and emotional development. Therefore it is imperative for these kids to learn survival skills very early in life. They may acquire a type of co-dependency that is similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which occurs when people feel such an intense amount of stress, more than is normal. Children who reach this level are eight (8) times more likely to be substance abusers or addicts. It also increases their chances of marrying an addict.
This environment instills an attitude of “don’t trust, don’t feel and don’t talk.” Like so many other learned behavior patterns, early intervention is the key.
Breaking those patterns is essential to recovering the child to somewhat normal circumstances and lifestyles.
Things to watch for and/or issues attached to “addicted” families:
There is likely to be more abuse associated with these families.
Children coming from substance abusing homes are more difficult to place in foster care.
Children coming from these types of environments are more likely to become abusers themselves.
Children of addicted parents are more likely to exhibit symptoms of depression and anxiety, they are at greater risk for physical and/or mental health problems and tend to score lower on school achievement tests.
Interaction with parents is defined by the addiction.
Struggles these children face include:
Trying to figure out what is normal.
Difficulty having fun.
Difficulty with emotional relationships.
Lack of self discipline.
Fear and mistrust of authority figures.
Desperately seeks approval and acceptance.
The good news is if these children are able to break patterns and come under the influence of a positive, supporting adult, their social skills become stronger and they are able to develop the necessary abilities to cope with daily life.
Don’t use, abuse or be confused!
For questions or more information on the Gila County Meth Coalition, contact Chair Claudia DalMolin at the Gila County Sheriff’s Office (928) 425-4440, Co-Chair Bianca DalMolin at (928) 701-1790, Facilitator Peggy Huggins at (928) 425-1887 or Media Liaison Lu DuBois at (928) 467-2515.
Remember, Marty says, “Meth IS Death.”
“The Meth Messenger” is presented by the Gila County Meth Coalition