Aurora Recovery Centre

Growing up with an alcoholic parent comes with many consequences. A child is not yet equipped to handle the burden of adult emotional responsibility. Often, the child of an alcoholic is faced with other responsibilities as well. How a parent demonstrates their alcoholism varies, which in turn creates varied effects on the child. 

growing up with alcoholic-parent

For example, a child may have to carry the weight of their household. From cleaning to feeding siblings, even making sure bills are paid, a child early on earns the responsibilities of a grown up. They are also born witness to unpredictable chaos, pain, and sickness. Alcoholic homes can be highly abusive, violent, and aggressive. Sadly, these circumstances are unending until the child seeks therapy.

Once the child of an alcoholic becomes the adult child of an alcoholic, the trauma of the past is not eradicated. There’s no magic trick performed when the child moves out of the house. Their geographic location may change, their age may change, but the influence on the child does not.

Seeking acceptance, predictability, and truth, are common drives for the child of an alcoholic. Parenting skills that are strict and relentless make a child sensitive to any kind of criticism. Alcoholic parenting also inspires denial in the child. Assuming responsibility for the inexplicable, a child will deny any lack of normalcy. In the future, this can contribute to false senses of reality.

Signs of an Adult Child with an Alcoholic Parent

  • Doesn’t adapt well to change
  • Difficulty making transitions
  • Feels safe in routines
  • Uncomfortable with predictability
  • Challenged with issues of trust
  • Unable to open up in emotional or sexual intimacy
  • Feeling emotionally disconnected with others
  • Feelings of unworthiness
  • Fear of being judged
  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Lacking in self-forgiveness, self-kindness, and self-compassion
  • Perfectionism
  • People-Pleasing
  • Heightened Sensitivity
  • Codependency
  • Assumed Responsibility
  • Anxiety