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How Do Drug & Alcohol Addiction in Parents Affect Family Relationships

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Family
Wordcount: 1711 words Published: 6th Aug 2021

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The purpose of this research article was to gain knowledge of the parent that is not misusing drugs or alcohol in the perspective of the child. The sample for the research was 10 children and 6 to 12 years old and 13 young adults aged 13 to 19 years old. This group of 23 was taken from an initially aimed sample of 30 children and young adults aged 6 to 19 years old, with a variation of boys and girls throughout. An interview was performed with the sample with those that held a PhD in social work as well as a senior social worker. The children and young adults were asked about their relationships with friends and family, what their home life was like, the financial situation of their family, their school and extra-curricular activities, and the impact they felt the parent with addiction had on them. Throughout the study, there were many differences yet many similarities. Regarding this specific research, drugs and alcohol addiction has affected the child, the other parent, and the addicted parent in various ways. Some children felt that the other parent without an addiction was able to support them and protect them from the parent with the addiction. In other situations, some felt that the other parent was so focused on the addiction that the support they needed was not available. The research shows that no situation is the same and that addiction in one parent can have varying outcomes for the child and the family. Some children and young adults would try to protect one parent from the other, such as hiding one parents addiction so there would be less confrontation between family members or feeling sorry for the addicted parent because the other parent would be upset or mad.

Dyba, J., Moesgen, D., Klein, M., & Leyendecker, B. (2019). Methamphetamine Use in German Families: Parental Substance Use, Parent-Child Interaction and Risks for Children Involved. Substance Use & Misuse, 54(4), 583–591. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.proxy1.ncu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=s3h&AN=135671281&site=eds-live

 The purpose of this research article was to look at family relationships where methamphetamine use is prevalent and to spread awareness about this specific type of substance abuse, parenting, and the psychological consequences the children in the family suffer. The sample for this research was comprised of 24 individuals, 16 of which were mothers, and 8 of which were fathers. The individuals were not currently using any drugs and attended outpatient treatment for methamphetamine. The researchers gathered information from the individuals on parenting while using methamphetamine, their drug use, and the effects their addiction had on their children. These variables were measured via interview with the parents while in outpatient treatment. The study found that parents abusing methamphetamine had a difficult time parenting and were often neglecting their children emotionally, though unintentional aside from the drug use. Methamphetamine use also forced the parents to be inconsistent with the duties of parenting and impulsive with all aspects in their life. The study also found that the children began externalizing certain behaviors similar to hyperactivity and other emotional difficulties. The relationship that the child and parent have during treatment is vastly different from when the parent was actively using but the child still may have issues with trust and be cautious on building that trust and their relationship back up.

Finan, L. J., Schulz, J., Gordon, M. S., & Ohannessian, C. M. (2015). Parental problem drinking and adolescent externalizing behaviors: The mediating role of family functioning. Journal of Adolescence, 43, 100–110. https://doi-org.proxy1.ncu.edu/10.1016/j.adolescence.2015.05.001

The purpose of this research article was to examine the functions of the family, their relationships, and the behaviors of the children when the parent has an addiction to drinking. The sample for this study was comprised of 492 adolescents and their parents in the years 2007 and 2008 with an average age being 16.15 years old and 52.5 percent female. The data was gathered from a community sample throughout the Mid-Atlantic United States. The study analyzed the satisfaction the children felt with the level of closeness they had with their parents, how the child perceived the communication relationship with their parent, the amount and consistency of alcohol and drug use, and how often the child felt aggression or succumbed to rule breaking. The research showed that maternal drinking effected the adolescent-mother communication as well as the family cohesion. Maternal drinking was directed correlated to drug use and rule breaking in girls and alcohol use in boys. Paternal drinking effected adolescent-father communication for both boys and girls but also effected adolescent-mother communication and family cohesion in girls. In boys with paternal alcohol abuse, they were more likely to suffer from alcohol and drug abuse themselves. The results clearly show the effects alcohol abuse has on family relationships, but even more specifically the communication within those relationships.

McCutcheon, V. V., Agrawal, A., Kuo, S. I., Su, J., Dick, D. M., Meyers, J. L., Bucholz, K. K. (2018). Associations of parental alcohol use disorders and parental separation with offspring initiation of alcohol, cigarette and cannabis use and sexual debut in high‐risk families. Addiction, 113(2), 336–345. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.proxy1.ncu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=s3h&AN=127216749&site=eds-live

The purpose of this research article was to gain insight on the age of initiation of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis, and sexual debut in relation to parental alcohol use disorders and parental separation. The sample for this study was comprised of 3257 children between the ages of 14 and 33. Of the 3257, only 1945 had a parent with an alcohol use disorder. The data was collected via interview from the Collaborative Study of the Genetics of Alcoholism. The research showed that the age of the child when they began using drugs or alcohol and the age at which they had their first consensual intercourse was the youngest when both parents had alcohol use disorders, slightly older when one parent had an alcohol use disorder, and oldest when there was no parent with an alcohol use disorder. The study also showed the same pattern was true when it came to parental separation. Although the study did not share the family relationships each of these individuals had, it did show the effect a parental alcohol use disorder can have on a child. These effects speak great volumes to the apparent relationships within the family, as a positive relationship would not negatively affect a child in these specific ways. 

Mirick, R., Steenrod, S. (2016). Opioid Use Disorder, Attachment, and Parenting: Key Concerns for Practitioners. Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal, 33(6), 547–557. https://doi-org.proxy1.ncu.edu/10.1007/s10560-016-0449-1

 The main take-away is the importance of attachment in a child-parent relationship and how the use of opioids can affect it. The average age for current opioid users is 22.9 years old, with 90 percent being Caucasian and 50 percent being female. According to these statistics, more women of child-rearing age are either already using or starting to use opioids, typically starting with prescription medications and gradually increasing their use to heroin. Opioid use in parents is associated with increases circumstances of behavioral problems in children such as truancy, suspension at school, involvement in illegal activity, and substance abuse. Parenting can greatly be affected as well when opioid use is present as is can cause drowsiness, loss of consciousness, and a slower process of thinking. For many parents, obtaining and using opioids is often prioritized over responsibilities such as work and family, which can have a negative impact on parenting. Some typical negative effects are the disruptions in routines, the financial burden of addiction, and decreased parental involvement. Opioid use is associated with insecure attachment in children because of the negative effects it has on parenting. Attachment approaches try to seek increased positive development in parents while focusing on their empathy, responsiveness towards their child/children, and the ability to reflect upon themselves. This type of development in parents is likely to cultivate a secure attachment with the child, which will then increase the likelihood of positive influences, instead of negative ones.

Annotated Bibliography

Alexanderson, K., & Näsman, E. (2017). Children’s experiences of the role of the other parent when one parent has addiction problems. Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy, 24(1), 32–39. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.proxy1.ncu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=s3h&AN=120793119&site=eds-live


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