Parenting is a precious job that can be demanding. Often, we as parents feel overwhelmed. Alcohol is a
quick and convenient escape away from the steady attention that children need. Drinking can appear as an aid to help us cope. The question does arise about the real truth concerning mixing alcohol or drugs with parenting.
What Does Your Child Experience?
Children live in a world where they instinctively see their parents in a way that shapes their world. Parents are the go-to for everything. The kids do not see your needs or desires. They need what they need when they need it. Children do not understand the energy you put out when you are working either in the home or workplace.
Everyone has good and bad days, including the kids, but they may not be aware of yours. When parents drink or take mood-altering drugs, all the children experience is you pulling away from them. The kids depend on the parents for security. When they experience your drinking or the effects of the drugs, they sense that you are less available for them. A sober parent may be tired at times, but the children know you are there for them.
Being real with the kids is the key to successful role modeling. I am not suggesting parents dump their
adult challenges on them. What I am saying is the kids are watching the parents respond to their issues. This set of parents are laying the groundwork for the next generation. The kids are watching the parents responses by how they solve the problem, the way parents present the solution and the reaction from others to the solution.
Drinking and drug use can present a false picture of the way the parent would handle an issue if they
were sober. Being under the influence portrays that the way the parents respond does not have to be
consistent, which in turns devalues the issue and the response. Misunderstandings can escalate an
otherwise simple, straightforward resolution. Serious problems may be downplayed when the parent is
not sober. Children are relying on the parent to show them how to handle problems in a consistent
Children need positive constructive consistency in all aspects their lives. They are looking for the parent
to provide a structure that they can depend on. The kids want to know that they are loved and come first in mom and dad's life. Being under the influence can destroy the consistency of everyday family life.
The weekend can be a problem if the parent makes it a habit to binge. Sure, the kids may be in bed on
Friday night when you open that bottle of wine, roll that joint, or start on that six-pack, but it is the
hangover the next day that affects the kids. This is the time they are looking forward to family time
together while the parent is dealing with a hangover and just want to be left alone. A sober parent will
be there for them, ready to work and play together.
Kids Need To Know They Are Not The Problem
Kids and parents will not always agree. There are times that they require structured discipline. It is
necessary for them to learn to make good choices. If they are loved, the discipline will be a bonding tool. When the parent drinks or takes drugs, the child begins to wonder if coming home to them is a problem. The child will begin to doubt their worth to the family or the parent.
By staying sober, this concern will not arise. Even though there may be differences between the children and their parents, the kids will not think that the parents are trying to escape them or not care about them. The child's self-esteem can be damaged.
Alcohol and drugs are expensive. Even if you have a comfortable lifestyle, the time and money spent on drugs and alcohol could be going toward family use. Think of vacations together, college funds, and
home upgrades. Show the family that they are the most important part of your life. Be there for them
every moment of every day.
To learn more about drugs and alcohol addiction, please visit The Recovery Village website.