When do dramatic events turn into traumatic crises for children? When an alcoholic parent is involved, children can suffer traumatic incidents that affect their development.
According to National Child Traumatic Stress Network, a parent's alcoholism can shape these traumatic events for children early in life. Although they may not completely understand why they feel depressed, scared or what is causing their strong emotions, they'll respond in distinct ways. For example, if a child is consistently bullied while on the playground at recess, he or she may try to avoid that area altogether. The lingering effects of the incident could involve the child having difficulty sleeping at night or staying focused in school.
Children will react similarly when they are in a dangerous environment involving an alcoholic parent. That is why it's important for the other, non-alcoholic parent to help a child understand they aren't at fault for that parent's behavior. During this time, it's also recommended to explain to the child what alcoholism is and how they can handle living with an alcoholic parent. By doing this, you can ensure they'll be able to better manage dramatic events, such as a parent's anger due to alcoholism.
According to the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, it's recommended you use the seven Cs to help kids understand their parent's alcoholism and ensure they aren't internalizing trauma from it:
- I didn't cause it.
- I can't cure it.
- I can't control it.
- I can take better care of myself by communicating my feelings, making healthy choices and celebrating life.
By following the seven Cs, you can approach the topic of alcoholism with a child in an easily understandable way. The assistance of an adult and the clear presentation of these facts are necessary to help children realize they are not at fault for their parent's alcoholism and actions and that there is a way to escape dangerous situations. It is possible a child fully recovers from a traumatic incident or environment. However, their recovery depends on a number of factors, including the type of counseling they receive and when.
Located in Clearwater, Florida, Fairwinds Treatment Center has over 25 years of experience diagnosing and treating alcoholic related problems. Dr. M.K (Khal) El-Yousef and his full-time staff of professional psychiatrists, nursing professionals and licensed therapists use a dual diagnosis approach to treat individuals with addictive behaviors. In using this approach, they can discover the root of the disease and look for possible treatments using therapeutic counseling and clinical practices.