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Coping with an Alcoholic Parents

What are the issues in families with alcoholic parents?

  • Alcoholic parents tend to have poor coping skills and turn to alcohol to cope with problems that they may have (e.g. marital, financial, illness, work stress).
  • Teenagers who grow up with alcoholic parents usually have poor relationships within the family and may also have troubles outside the family.
  • Teenagers with alcoholic parents are in danger of becoming alcoholic themselves.

What may happen to a teenager with alcoholic parents?

He may:

  • Spend less quality time with family.
  • Experience conflicts due to misunderstanding.
  • Be involved in physical and verbal abuse.
  • Suffer depression and / or anxiety and other emotional difficulties, e.g. anger outbursts.
  • Encounter financial problems.
  • Form poor social relationships.
  • Abuse alcohol and drugs.
  • Be confused of his role at home.
  • Feel guilty of being at fault for parents’ alcoholism.
  • Have feelings of anger at his parents.
  • Suffer low self-esteem.
  • Be helpless.
  • Become irritable and have mood swings.

How should a teenager deal with alcoholic parents?

  • Admit that it is a real problem.
  • Be aware of how your parent’s problem affects you.
  • Understand that your parent’s alcoholism is not your fault.
  • Find support from friends, school counselors, teacher or anyone else you can trust and talk to.
  • Finding support from others who does not make you a traitor against your parents, nor reduce your love for them.
  • Find a safe environment.
  • If you find your home situation too dangerous to be in, seek help from authorities such as the police or welfare department.

How can you avoid becoming an alcoholic yourself?

  • Learn to face problems and to solve them without the use of alcohol.
  • Improve communication skills so that problem solving with family and friends becomes easier.

(See Communication skills).


Last Reviewed : 27 April 2012
Content Writer : Dr. Nor Saleha bt. Ibrahim Tamin
Prof. Madya. Dr. Foong Kin
Reviewer : Dr. Salmiah bt. Md Sharif
: Dr. Wan Fadhilah bt. Wan Ismail