Alcoholism’s Toll on Family Dynamics and Child Development

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Updated: Sep 07, 2023
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Category:Alcohol Abuse
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A major effect of abuse with children can start with something that people may seem as a minor thing. Most adults drink and have a glass of wine or beer to relax after a long work day but what can slowly creep up on these individuals is how much they can continue to drink or overdue it. When alcohol addictions happens the effects on the family is huge. There are many links from alcohol abuse to sexual abuse which is normally a relationship between non related family members.

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But alcoholism can also be a passed down trait.

In studies throughout the years it has been said that, “the rates of alcoholism among relatives of alcoholics are much higher than would be expected by chance. Research indicates that genetics account for between 43% and 63% of the transmission, but the mechanisms of transmission remain to be determined” (“Long-term Effects Of Child Abuse And Neglect On Alcohol Use And Excessive Drinking In Middle Adulthood ”).

There is also, the quality of parenting when alcoholism is present in one or both parents can relate to the lack supervision or monitoring necessary to a child and there are cases where alcohol is easily accessible to a child. Which can cause things such as heavy-drinking peers. Alcoholism can also affect things like the parent-child relationship and their communication. It is problems like these that can jeopardize a child’s attachment to parents and their future ability to build healthy relationships.

Children can also be taught that alcohol can be used as a coping mechanism for any traumatic type of experience. Also “failure to control for parental alcohol abuse could lead to inaccurate conclusions about the effects of being maltreated on one’s later alcohol use”(“Long-term Effects Of Child Abuse And Neglect On Alcohol Use And Excessive Drinking In Middle Adulthood ”).

Another minor way people may not see as abuse is the language adults use towards children or in the way they they speak to them. Family criticism about weight and shape can also be associated with long term psychological abuse. In 2006 there was a study on the relationship between negative comments about weight, shape, and eating and social adjustment, social support, self-esteem, and perceived childhood abuse and neglect, with 455 young women with high weight and shape concerns.

All these women had received negative comments about weight, shape, and eating habits. Participants identified “More than 80% of the sample reported some parental or sibling negative comments about their weight and shape or eating”(“Family Criticism About Weight And Shape Is Associated With Long-term Emotional Effects”). This study can show the clear relationship between overweight children and child abuse. Childhood maximum body size was also related to emotional neglect .

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Alcoholism's Toll on Family Dynamics and Child Development. (2019, Jun 14). Retrieved from