If dad is drinking …

Baby Problems, Growth & Development Add comments

Living in a family where there is a problem of alcohol addiction, is built around an addicted: quarrels, monitoring events, constant thoughts about how to change a drinker. Parental alcohol addiction and the problems children have are associated very seldom, and in vain.

Unfortunately, a family runs away from the recognition that alcohol consumption is not just bad behavior, bad habit or a lack of will, but namely, a disease that affects not only addicted one, but also entire family. When some of parents have alcohol addiction, a child usually accepts one of four roles.

If dad is drinking, a child will necessarily have psychological problems

* 1 «Hero of the family»
This is an obedient child who demonstrates high achievements in various fields. A teacher or parent will never call him «problem», on the contrary, he is likely the pride of family and school. But much of what a child makes, he does due to his interest, but for others’ approval: «to be noticed, praised, to be the best». Such child’s behavior sometimes resembles a small adult: a serious, responsible, always willing to help others (as he will be praised for it). He feels much pain because of the slightest mistake. He cannot be wrong, otherwise he will be imperfect. He does not feel worthy and decent, and only achievements and others’ praise give him an opportunity to feel it. And adults are pleased to shift all the responsibility on a child (for home, progress in studies, younger children’s behavior).

When a child grows up: his willingness to take responsibility «for all and everything» remains with him during whole life: these children often become workaholics, choose emotionally inaccessible, infantile, or alcohol addicted partners - which should be saved, to feel feel necessary and meaningful near them.

* 2 «Scapegoat»
This is a child who lacks strength and internal resources to obtain a positive evaluation and attention from surrounding adults, as «hero of the family» does. He is rarely praised for achievements, teachers and parents often say: «he should not be praised, he does not deserve it». But a child needs to be noticed, so he is looking for other ways to make adults paying attention to him: he answers back, misses classes, fights with peers. Such child has a lot of pain and anger he cannot cope with, he does not have enough strength to overcome difficulties he faces. Such children are afraid to see real consequences of their actions. As a rule, they have no necessary support from adults, so they choose available ways of adaption: these guys are often combined in groups where they receive necessary support for them, many of them start drinking alcohol and taking drugs early, are in conflict with law enforcement authorities.


Such «problem» child’s behavior has an important function for a family - diverts attention from parental alcohol addiction. Parents may engage child’s «ugly» behavior for years, instead of solving the central family problem and seek necessary support. A «scapegoat» can always be blamed for the situation and accept all negative emotions, which for the most part are not connected with him, but with what is happening in a family.

When a child grows: rebelliousness, hostility, prosecution of others in events provide an opportunity to avoid responsibility for his actions. Often, this behavior persists into adulthood: they feel difficult to succeed, take responsibility and fulfill their commitments.

* 3 «Clown»
A child can wear a «clown’s» mask: he is always cheerful, sociable, active, constantly jokes, parodies others, and these jokes are not always suitable and become more and more unsafe for the environment. Such behavior usually hides self-doubt and fear to build a close relationship, because they can bring pain. A child is afraid that someone might laugh at him when he is not ready for it. And so he laughs all over, including himself, saying he does not care. And adults often make a mistake of thinking he really does not care: laugh over a child, not his jokes.

In addition, the problem is that, having started his clownery, a child cannot stop. When someone is talking to him one on one, he is quite adequate, but as soon as a child gets into a group of peers, he begins «buffooning», mocking around. The more attempts you make to stop him, the more attention he needs, the more apparent clownery becomes.

This behavior distracts a family from problems that exist in it, and provides an opportunity to relax. As soon as tension within a family is growing, he needs to do something funny, and then everything turns into a joke. And it becomes a way of life: as soon as there is a serious problem, it is necessary to defuse the situation (the main thing is not to face a real problem, get away from it, forcing all laughing).

When a child grows: he will continue being a «clown», which cannot stop in his «jokes», keeps immaturity and is not able to build a deep relationship.

* 4 «Invisible Angel»
This child is very convenient for parents: «there are so many problems around, but a child does not bring troubles. Typically, this is a quiet, shy child who spends a lot of time in seclusion, deep in his dreams and fantasies, to avoid conflicts. He has few friends, he is tied to things. And few people think: is he able to defend his opinion? Whether he really has no discontent? Of course, this is not the case. Similarly, a child behaves like that, because one of the basic sensations of his life is a sense of nugacity and irrelevance: «I’m not interesting». He lives with a sense of anxiety that he is one on one with his problems, and usually adults allow him living this way and are even proud of it. A child’s real talents cannot be shown, because he does not believe not only in himself, but also that it is really necessary and interesting for someone.

Absorption of parents in conflicts and family cares make a child thinking: «Parents have no time for me».

When a child grows: as a rule, in adulthood he saves isolation, seclusion, a sense of irrelevance, which he never said of, little interest in life. Against this background, depression and other mental illnesses are developing.

All described roles-masks do not contribute to a child’s development. They help him surviving in his environment. Growing up, he will take that role with him into adulthood and will not be able to get out of it on his own. Therefore, regardless of a role a child chooses, he needs a professional specialist’s help, a psychologist, no less, and perhaps even more than the one addicted to alcohol.

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