In the United States, there are an estimated 20 million children who are suffering various forms of abuse at the hands of their addict parents. Since childhood is the foundation on which a life is built, this realization is a tragic reminder that being addicted to drugs and alcohol does harm that reaches far outside the addict’s own body. An unhealthy relationship between a child and their parent can cause severe anxiety or social issues for the child;there may be confusion as to why things are the way they are, and “What is normal?” Special skills must be developed early in a child’s life in order for them to survive a young life without love or consistency.
Children who are raised in dysfunctional homes quickly learn that they will not be able to rely on their parents and must rely on themselves instead. They often develop mistrust towards others, yet many feel responsible for their parent’s addiction. These “little adults” know that they hold responsibilities that are well beyond their years.
Battling Common Struggles
Some psychological professionals describe the cognitive effects of coming from an abusive or dysfunctional family as a combination of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and codependency. The fear and environmental stimuli leads to several common struggles that children face through what short childhood theyhave that also followthem into adulthood. These individuals can only make a guess as to what it is like to have a normal home life, and many find it difficult to have fun. These children and adults of addict parents judge themselves very harshly, as they often feel as if they are different from others. They also struggle with maintaining emotional relationships.
An unhealthy childhood can cause detrimental effects on emotional wellbeing. Children who are raised in dysfunctional homes are known to be more impulsive than others and are more likely to become compulsive liars. They are either very responsible or extremely irresponsible individuals. Many do not have great self-discipline and suffer from anxiety. These scars that were brought on by emotional wounds can be addressed with proper counseling services.
Start the Healing
The earlier that a child of an abusive or dysfunctional home receives treatment, the better. The lasting chronic effects of having a traumatic childhood can be significantly decreased with early intervention. Children must learn that they are normal, yet living in an extremely stressful and extraordinary situation. Since these young people struggle with expressing their own emotions, they must learn that it is okay to have feelings and that they will not be rejected.
Break The Cycle
Children who grow up in abusive or dysfunctional families are more likely to become abusers and addicts themselves. This cycle must be broken, and thorough counseling services, as well as addiction treatment, can help. Professional counselors at recovery centers are dedicated to providing families with the services that they need to overcome. If you would like more information, visit our therapy page, or contact a representative with South Coast Counseling today.