The impact on children when a parent or sibling abuses alcohol

The Impact on Children When a Parent Abuses Alcohol

Taylor Vazquez

Kean University

The Impact on Children When a Parent Abuses Alcohol

Children of parents with alcohol problems (COAs) require special attention and assistance to protect them from developing the adverse effects of being part of a family where both or either of the parents abuse alcohol. Such children usually feel insecure and fearful while in the presence of the affected parents(ref[A1] ?) and may become dependent on alcohol and drugs when they become older (ref). COAs experience so much stress that may resurface and yield negative effects at a later stage in life. Children whose parents abuse alcohol are likely to develop behavioral and mental disorders, which makes it necessary to prevent or restrict alcohol use within the family level[A2] . Children may acquire the habit of taking alcohol from their parents following relentless use of the substance and this may threaten their[A3]  future wellbeing when they cannot free themselves from dependence unless they get external aid[A4] .

Effects[A5]  of Parental Alcohol Abuse on Children

It is highly likely that growing up in a family where the parents abuse alcohol, the children are at a higher risk of suffering the effects of their parents’ behavior. Often, the full effects are not experienced until after many years later (ref). The feelings of coping up [A6] with parents or a parent, who abuse alcohol, resurface to haunt a person at their workplace, parenting, friendship, and relationships[A7] . Eiden et al[A8] . (2016) assert that encounters[A9]  of young children in alcoholic families could cause developmental processes [A10] resulting in alcohol-related complications later in life. Such children may never attain their goals and objectives, and the failure could be attributed to the unfavorable environment at home.

Children growing up in a family where either or both of the parents are alcoholic may feel uncomfortable and insecure. The children could view home as being scary because addicts may be unpredictable, abusive, and always emotionally disturbed (ref). The child can hardly predict their mood, and their anger may cause unintended conflicts and tension. The children feel insecure, and may not easily trust others (ref). Unfortunately, creating a hostile home environment prevent the children from achieving good outcomes in the future (ref). Eiden,  et al. (2016) inform[A11]  that one of the most essential components of parenting behaviors during the child-parent relationship during  childhood is parental sensitivity or warmth. Scholars[A12]  in the recent past have discovered that maternal sensitivity in early childhood has considerable impact on the children’s performance[A13]  from childhood through adolescence and adulthood. The parents’ warmth and sensitivity during childhood has significant impact on the adolescent’s academic, social, and psychopathology capability through maturity (ref). Indeed, alcohol abuse by parents is viewed as a precursor for a number of harmful risk factors such as maltreatment[A14] , disruption, and conflicts that could affect the children as they become older (Hussonget al., 2012). Overcoming[A15]  such dangerous effects require the parents to regulate their intake of alcohol.

The stressors COAs experience have more far-reaching effect on the children than both the parents and their offspring can imagine. Chassin et al. (2009) assert that the experience of stressful encounters is commonly perceived to be a risk factor for alcohol use among adolescents. Longitudinal and cross-sectional research studies [A16]  have illustrated that children who experience stressors at the family level have higher chances[A17]  of becoming alcoholic. The stressors children face in the family are usually uncontrollable and external, and may occur at varying times (Chassin et al.,2009). Stress among children may climax around the time when the parents separate because of the pre-divorce marital quarrels, and the children may continue to witness high levels of depression after the break up because of the emerging post-divorce stressors[A18]  (Chassinet al., 2009). COAs are at a great risk of developing stress as well, and having to cope with either or both paternal and maternal alcoholism could have devastating repercussions. Research[A19]  shows that stress hampers developmental processes on a long-term basis rather than over a short duration because some of the negative effects of stress may only start to show after a long period of exposure to stressors, and these effects may have vital ramifications for development (Chassinet al.,, 2009). Recent surveys[A20] , for example, indicate that exposure to stressors during early childhood and adolescence may hamper with the proper formation of the prefrontal cortex, which helps a person to achieve self-control (Chassin et al., 2009[A21] ; Roussotte et al., 2011). Exposure to stress at early childhood, for instance, could resurface later during adolescence when the teenagers start consuming alcohol and using drugs with a false hope of suppressing their past and present stressful encounters (Chassin et al., , 2009). Thus stress at the family level may not only influence daily behaviors, but may as well tamper with the broader mechanisms of adolescent growth and development, which are only possible to detect using modern yearly assessment tools and frameworks.[A22] 

Paternal alcohol use, marital conflicts, and mothers’ child abuse in South Korean multicultural families expose children to much stress, and decrease their likelihood of achieving productive future. Lee et al. (2016)  found that there is a possible high risk for violation of children’s right [A23] by foreign mothers in Korean multicultural families, especially because such foreign-born mothers experience parenting stress after being acculturated into the Korean culture[A24] . Further, Lee et al. (2016) found that the violation of children’s rights by foreign mothers may be heightened through the high prevalence of alcohol dependence among Korean fathers that increase conflicts with their spouses and parenting stressors. The study by Lee, Lee and Park (2016) that examines the links between alcohol abuse among Korean fathers and marital conflicts and the abuse of children by foreign-born mothers, with particular focus to investigating whether the acculturation of foreign mothers and parenting stressors enhanced the associations discovered that the use of alcohol by fathers is directly connected to marital conflicts. The study further revealed that the mother’s abuse by the alcoholic father was directly linked to increased stress and violation of children rights. Lee, Lee and Park (2016) learned from the survey that the abuses of wives by their husbands cause much stress among mothers who in turn release their anger to the children. The results of the study that offer valuable implications for social workers regarding child abuse also informs about the effects impact of paternal alcoholism on the children. [A25] 

COAs are likely to become users, especially when they reach the adolescence stage. Eiden et al.(2016) write that COAs are 4 to 10 [A26] times more likely to develop alcohol-related problems themselves[A27]  and are also likely to become alcohol users at an early age. Furthermore, COAs have higher chances of transiting from alcohol use to dependence more quickly[A28]  (Cranford et al., 2010). Thus, the children of parents who drink alcohol regularly form a considerable population of the underage consumers. Such children usually develop the habit of drinking when they reach the adolescence stage, which is characterized by considerable social, psychological, and physical transformations (ref). Eiden et al. (2016) found that one of the most conspicuous behavioral alterations during the stage[A29]  is an escalation in risky practices, including substance and alcohol use that are commenced and escalate during the developmental phase.  Hussong et al. (2012) share the same view by arguing that although the results concerning the effects of alcohol use by parents on adolescent’s substance use evoke mixed reactions, findings constantly reveal that adolescents whose parentor  parents misuse alcohol are at a considerable risk for developing alcohol-related health problems and substance dependence compared to their fellows. Estimates by Hussong et al.(2012) show that more than 53% of children of parents who abuse alcohol are likely to develop alcohol use disorder by early adulthood, while about 20% meet the criteria for a disorder caused by drug abuse.

The theory of behaviorism explains why it is possible for the children to become alcoholics in future [A30] when either or both of their parent’s abuse alcohol. The children are likely to become alcoholics because based on behaviorism a person acquires new practices and ways of thinking by entirely emulating observable behaviors (Malone, 2003). Behaviorists believe that learning is nothing more than the adoption of new behaviors depending on features on the external environment (Malone, 2003). CAOs may pick up the alcoholic behaviors of their parents as a result of operant or behavioral learning, which occurs when a reaction to stimuli is repeated. Regular drinking by the parents may result in a situation where the children ultimately become alcohol users because of what they have observed for so long. The children may also become alcohol users due to classical conditioning, which happens in reaction to a particular stimulus[A31] . Operant conditions may take place when the child is mature enough, and resort to consuming alcohol when either or both parents come home drunk and is so harsh and uncooperative[A32] . Often, alcohol use among the children as a result of operant conditioning may be a way of suppressing the stress or uncomfortable feeling that forms when the parents are drunk. Parents should know [A33] that quitting irresponsible drinking as early as possible may save their children from picking the behavior due to classic or operant conditioning. 

The emphasis on how the timing of parent alcoholism influences children’s behavior and substance use is important in knowing the impact on children when either or both parents are alcoholics. Hussong et al. (2012) predict that the consequences of timing of alcohol use by parents and the effects of alcohol on adolescents’ drug and substance dependence may differ as a function of three elements; which parent is exhibiting consequences of alcoholism, the adolescent’s gender, and the form of substance result studied. Hussong et al. (2010) found that although past research studies indicate that CAOs have high possibilities of exhibiting externalizing features compared to their fellows, it is still not clear whether the timing of the minors’ externalizing features ate related to that of their parents-connected alcoholic symptoms. Huanget al. (2012) envisage that the effects of maternal alcoholism may be more disturbing than when the father is so much into [A34] alcohol. The lower rate of alcoholism among women makes maternal alcoholism to appear  strange and disturbing to the children. Furthermore, families with maternal alcoholism are at higher risk[A35]  because the children’s primary caregiver is likely to be harmed causing the level of dysfunction and stress within the family to increase . The situation becomes worse if the family experiences both paternal alcoholism and maternal alcoholism because this deprives the children of the guidance of a non-affected parent, although this influence is not entirely explored and confirmed (Huanget al[A36] ., 2012). Parents should be keen on [A37] how they indulge in alcoholism to avoid causing more depression to the children who require the guidance of non-affected [A38] guardians.

Many researchers have revealed that children of parents who abuse alcohol are at a higher risk for behavioral and mental disorders compared to children of non-alcoholics. Eiden et al. (2009) write that CAOs are at a higher risk for a broad range of adverse effects such as higher chances of developing behavioral problems. Raitasalo et al. , (2019) utilize a retrospective cohort survey while relying on social welfare and health care registers that include parents and their young children born in Finland. Raitasaloet al.  (2019) examine whether the seriousness of alcohol abuse by parents is related to behavioral and mental disorders in children[A39] . The surveyors[A40]  evaluate the variations in the prevalence of behavioral and mental disorders over time among the offspring of non-alcoholic parents, parents with minor issues related to alcohol use, and parents with serious alcoholic issues. The researchers[A41]  also examine the relationship between paternal and maternal alcohol dependence and children’s risks of disorders. The children were followed until they were 15 years during which a diagnosis of behavioral and mental disorders was performed and was received by 9% of the girls and 15% of the boys[A42] . Raitasalo et al. (2019) find from the study that both relentless[A43]  alcohol abuse and less serious alcohol abuse in mothers escalated the risk of developing the disorders in their children. The results for developing the disorders when the father is alcoholic are almost the same as when the mother abuses alcohol. The findings from the study illustrate that excessive use of alcohol by both parents[A44]  are connected with a heightened risk of behavioral and mental disorders in children, and urge professionals working with children to focus on all minors whose parents are battling alcohol-related challenges.


COAs are at a higher risk of becoming alcoholics and drug users[A45]  once they reach adolescence when considerable changes take place in a person’s body. Alcoholic parents create so much fear and discomfort to the children who may feel that they lack parental warmth and sensitivity. Children who are exposed to the effects of alcoholism because of their parents’ drinking habits develop much stress that affects development[A46]  and increase their likelihood of becoming alcoholics and drug users when they become mature. The study[A47]  gives the example of how alcohol consumption by South Korean fathers subject their foreign-born wives to marital stress, which end up violating the children’s fundamental rights. The children find it more difficult to cope when both parents are alcoholics because they do not get the guidance of non-affected parents, which is crucial for development[A48] .


Chassin, L. King, K., & Molina, B. (2009). Prospective relations between growth in drinking and

            familial stressors across adolescence. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 118(3), 610–

            622. http?

Cranford, J., Zucker, R., Jester, J., Puttler, L., & Fitzgerald, H. (2010). Parental alcohol

            involvement and adolescent alcohol expectancies predict alcohol involvement in male

            adolescents. Psychology of Addictive Behavior, 24(3), 386–396. http?

Eiden, R., Colder, C., Edwards, E., & Leonard, K. (2009). A longitudinal study of social

            competence among children of alcoholic and nonalcoholic parents: Role of parental

            psychopathology, parental warmth, and self regulation. Psychology of Addictive

            Behavior, 23(1), 36–46. http

Eiden, R., Lessard, J., Colder, C., Livington, J., Casey, M., & Leonard, K. (2016).

            Developmental cascade model for adolescent substance use from infancy to late

            adolescence. Developmental Psychology, 52(10), 1619–1633. http?

Hussong, A., Huang, W., Serrano, D., Curran, P., & Chassin, D. (2012). Testing whether and

            when parent alcoholism uniquely affects various forms of adolescent substance use.

            Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 20, 1265–1276. http?

Hussong, A., Huang, W., Curran, P., Chassin, L., Zucker, R. (2010). Parent alcoholism impacts

            the severity and timing of children’s externalizing symptoms. Journal of Abnormal

            Psychology, 38, 367–380. http?

Lee, J., Lee, R., & Park, M. (2016). Fathers’ alcohol and spousal abuse and mothers’ child abuse

            in multicultural families in South Korea: The mediating role of acculturation and

            parenting stress. Children and Youth Services Review, 63, 28–35. http?

Malone, J. (2003). Advances in behaviorism: It’s not what it used to be. Journal of Behavioral

            Education, 12(2), 85–89.  http?

Raitasalo, K., Holmila, M., Jaaskelainen, M., & Santalahti, P. (2019). The effect of the severity

            of parental alcohol abuse on mental and behavioural disorders in children. European

            Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 28, 913–922. http?

Roussotte[A50] , F., et al. (2011). Abnormal brain activation during working memory in children with

            prenatal exposure to drugs of abuse: The effects of methamphetamine, alcohol, and

            polydrug exposure. NeuroImage, 54, 3067–3075.  http?

 [A1]need an in-text citation here to support this statement


 [A3]To whom are you referring?

 [A4]You should simplify your introductory paragraph.  You raise too many points that require follow-up.

 [A5]This should be a second level heading

 [A6]??? Reads awkwardly

 [A7]says who?

 [A8]Need to use APA (2019 7th ed.)

 [A9]meaning what?

 [A10]meaning what?

 [A11]reads awkwardly


 [A13] In what?

 [A14]on the part of the parent or the child?

 [A15]or preventing?


 [A17]than ?

 [A18]this may not be due to alcohol



 [A21]too much dependence on this single source in the paragraph

 [A22]this issue of measurement is a whole other discussion

 [A23]what is this?

 [A24]point not clear

 [A25]too much dependence on a single source.  Need greater synthesis in each paragraph.

 [A26]write out numbers less than ten


 [A28]than who?

 [A29]which stage?

 [A30]reads awkwardly

 [A31]need a better explanation of classical conditioning

 [A32]how is that operant conditioning?


 [A34]do not use vernacular

 [A35]for ?

 [A36]too much dependence on a single source in this paragraph

 [A37]do not use vernacular


 [A39]what did they find?


 [A41]whose study?

 [A42]unnecessary details

 [A43]meaning what?

 [A44]what is it is only one parent?


 [A46]of what?

 [A47]whose?  Why just mentoin this study in the conclusion?

 [A48]Need to address the cross-sectinal, global, interdisciplinary or multicultural nature of this topic.

 [A49]need a minimum of 10 primary references

 [A50]list all authors

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