A woman’s child comes to school, failing to act the same as the rest of his/her peers－but instead remains unengaged. The rest of the kids are full of excitement, as they circle the playground time and time again. But even so, this does little in getting the attention of the one-child who has isolated himself/herself from the rest of his/her classmates. The other students struggle to discern what’s wrong with him/her at their age, and resume in their game of hide and seek. Yet in doing so, fail to understand what is going on at home for the child they have deemed as nothing short of an outcast.
The above scenario paints a possible picture of what it is like for children who are affected by the substance abuse of a parent. Consequently, some may believe that the addict is only hurting himself/herself, but when he/she has another life to take care of besides his/her own, he/she is hurting him/her as well. This doesn’t just go for children from preschool through elementary school, but pre-teens as well, as they begin to lose more and more focus on their work at hand. In turn, the attentiveness they may have once had while at school may replace itself with anxiety, depression, and other similar health issues－as a result of the stress they may feel while in the presence of their parent(s).
In addition to such, a child seeing his/her parents engage in substance abuse can serve as a breeding ground for future addiction. When growing up, a child looks at his/her parent—and/or parents—as role model(s). But when the environment is unsafe by way of harmful—and/or negative—behaviors this can impact the learning behavior of the child. Depending on how young he/she is, he/she may pick up on these particular stimulants, and carry them with him/her as he/she continues to develop. He/she might even begin to think that it is healthy to deal with emotional issues—through substance abuse—because that is what he/she has been taught via his/her environment.
In conclusion, if a parent is struggling with substance abuse—via drugs, alcohol, or both—it is best that he/she gets the help that he/she needs early on. In doing so, she is not only helping himself/herself—and improving his/her well being—but the wellbeing of his/her child. He/she can then find himself/herself fully engaged and present in the life of his/her child. And as a result, the parent will not only be a whole lot happier but the child as well.