As much as we would rather that it was not the case, children sometimes become addicted to drugs and alcohol. While the problem is often discussed regarding teens, even younger children can struggle with addiction. Advertising of alcoholic beverages is sometimes blamed for the rise in teen drinking. Peer pressure and the desire to be cool may also drive some kids and teens to drink.
Many parents may be surprised to learn that their children are drinking. Kids generally find it easy to access alcohol since it’s in many homes. Unlike drugs, which parents generally teach their children about, not many parents have had discussions about the ill-effects of alcohol and alcoholism.
Effects of Alcohol on Children and Teens
While drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can negatively affect adults, it takes far less to affect a child or young teen. The effects of alcohol on children include:
Impaired cognitive and learning abilities. In fact it is believed that alcohol will adversely affect how the brain of children develops.Poor liver functionImpaired judgment and inappropriate emotional responses to situations
Parents should therefore talk to their children about alcohol. It’s really never too early to start talking, especially if there are drinkers in the child’s inner circle. This is even more important as there is belief in some areas that there is a genetic link to alcoholism. Children of parents who abuse alcohol are more likely to become alcoholics.
Helping the Child Who Drinks
Parents need to be firm and seek professional help early. Both parents have to come together to face the fact that their child or teenager has a drinking problem. There are rehab facilities available for teenagers. Parents and caregivers can get someone to come to the home, or consider an ‘outpatient’ type facility for help. They will also need counseling and assistance from addiction rehabilitation specialists for younger kids.