The Effect Alcoholic Parents Have on Their Children

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Many mothers and fathers think that after birth, alcoholism no longer has an effect on their child's life. It may be true that abstaining from the use of alcohol during the pregnancy will prevent the child from birth defects and physical harm before the birth. However, many alcoholic parents neglect to consider is that their abuse or dependency on alcohol can disrupt their children after delivery. Eiden, Edwards and Leonard (2004) report that there is an increase in the "likelihood of early behavior problems among these children leading to antisocial behavior, which in turn is associated with greater substance use problems" (p. 309). The negative impact that alcoholic parents have on the development and lifestyles of their children does not cease after the birth of the child, but continues to grow as the child does. Gale Encyclopedia (1996) defines an alcoholic as "a person whose drinking impairs his or her life adjustment, affecting health, personal relationships" (p. 6). Children of alcoholics, more than likely, will have difficulty developing a healthy lifestyle. According to Berger, a former teacher of special education (1993), a healthy development "requires mastering emotional and social tasks at various ages throughout their childhood" (p. 53). In order to do this, experts say they must learn how "to share, to interact, to engage in problem-solving and to separate from parents"(p. 54). Most of these children become deprived of experiences that expose them to these characteristics and thus preventing them from developing in healthy ways. They also need of "parental warmth and support" and, as Eiden (2004) states, "parental alcoholism interferes with being consistently warm and supportive during parent-child interactions" (p. 310). This affects social, educational, emotional and characteristic aspects of children's lives. Children of alcoholics rarely have close and stable friendships. They have a difficult time engaging in social situations....
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