Many kids become perfectionists, often trying to receive the how alcoholic parents affect their children they might lack at home by overperforming in other areas of their life. This mindset can help them down the road when they are attending college or seeking a job. Children of parents struggling with alcoholism know what it is like to be disappointed over and over by their alcoholic mother or alcoholic father not showing up. These children tend to become reliable people to lean on when times are tough. Self-blame – Children often blame themselves for their parents’ inability to stop drinking.

What is the typical personality of an alcoholic?

Generally, alcoholics seem to have the same kinds of personalities as everybody else, except more so. The first is a low frustration tolerance. Alcoholics seem to experience more distress when enduring long-term dysphoria or when tiresome things do not work out quickly. Alcoholics are more impulsive than most.

So adult children of alcoholic parents may have to guess at what it means to be “normal.” While the cognitive deficits observed in some children of alcoholics may be related to FASDs, environmental factors also appear to have an influence. The chaos and stress of their home environment, in particular, can make it hard for a child to stay motivated and organized — two ingredients that are vital to academic success. Children of alcoholics tend to struggle more in school than other children.

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This is often exacerbated by behaviors, including the tendency for an alcoholic to blame their drinking on other people. Comments like, “I wouldn’t drink if you weren’t such a bad child,” can be incredibly harmful to a child’s psyche. Because as a child life felt out of control and unpredictable, as an adult you try to control everyone and everything that feels out of control . You struggle to express yourself, subconsciously remembering how unsafe it was to speak up in your family. Being a child of an alcoholic may be a lifelong battle for some children, but there are ways for them to cope with their parent’s substance use and learn to thrive as an adult. Parents with an AUD may have difficulty providing children a safe, loving environment, which can lead to long-term emotional and behavioral consequences. If your family is affected by alcohol use, it is important to seek help.


Challenge internalized beliefs that get in the way of how one lives one’s life. The hurtful beliefs learned during childhood must be let go to make way for new ones. Children of alcoholics may benefit from educational programs and group programs such as Al-Anon and Alateen. Children of alcoholics can also benefit from skill building that teaches them a “variety of coping and self-care strategies to stay safe,” according to the NACoA.

Inability to maintain personal relationships

Today, alcoholism is clearly seen as a ‘Family disease’ ravaging not just the individual who drinks excessively but also the entire family. The primary victim is the individual who drinks excessively, but the family members are also affected with just the same intensity, if not more. Excessive drinking by a member in the family affects every member of the family economically, socially and physically and often emotionally and spiritually. According to the World Health Organization, global attributes of mortality due to alcohol use accounts for about 3 million deaths each year. 5.1% of global burden of disease is attributed to harmful use of alcohol, measured as disability-adjusted life years ; affecting 7.1% men and 2.2% women. Alcohol is a leading risk factor for disability and premature mortality, accounting for 10% of all deaths among those aged 15–49 years . In 2018, The Global Information System on Alcohol and Health reported that worldwide the total consumption of alcohol amounted to 6.2 liters of ethanol per person aged 15 years and older.

What are 5 signs and symptoms of FASDs?

  • Low body weight.
  • Poor coordination.
  • Hyperactive behavior.
  • Difficulty with attention.
  • Poor memory.
  • Difficulty in school (especially with math)
  • Learning disabilities.
  • Speech and language delays.

On the other hand, secure attachment with mother is considered as a protective factor against the negative impact of father’s alcoholism. Toddlers in secure relationships are guided by their supportive caregivers in soothing and managing negative emotions . Children who develop secure attachment are able to understand and self-regulate their emotional responses. Those with insecure attachment either under or over- regulate their emotions leading to development of internalizing or externalizing symptoms. Thus, attachment is a significant moderating factor between paternal alcoholism and child behavior . Alcoholism in parents is an established risk factor for development of psychopathology and alcoholism in their children. Adoption and twin studies have consistently indicated that genetic factors primarily contribute to development of alcoholism in male offspring of alcoholic parents.

How Are Children Impacted by Growing Up with Alcoholic Parents?

The Association for Addiction Professionals represents the professional interests of more than 100,000 addiction-focused health care professionals in the United States, Canada and abroad. Join our online community to learn more about addiction and treatment. Taking on more responsibilities than other children, which can mean acting more like the parent. We help thousands of people change their lives with our treatment programs.

We have locations across the country, and we are qualified to treat both addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.Contact ustoday to learn more. As briefly mentioned earlier, there may be a likelihood for children of alcoholics to develop alcohol addiction themselves. There are some genes that can influence the risk, and there is strong evidence that alcohol addiction can run in families. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, people with an alcoholic parent are about four times as likely to struggle with alcohol, and numerous other studies support this theory. Ultimately, the disruptive effects of problem drinking on marital relations and family functioning may influence adolescents’ perceptions of how families typically function. Some adolescents may come to view the marital and family dysfunction they experience as normative.