Let’s make a couple premises to start. Children learn from their parents and they understand much more than we may think. When alcohol is present in the home there’s an alcohol problem in the home there is the potential for issues with your children.
Let’s examine what you can do about preventing your children from alcoholism.
Be truthful about alcoholism
Your children already know many of the hands on issues of alcoholism. They know if they can bring friends home or if your alcoholic is going to be intoxicated. They understand how irrational your alcoholic is when the drinking starts. They experience the mood swings and the broken promises. Why then would you want to cover these things with an excuse?
These issues though difficult become learning opportunities of major consequence if your intent is to prevent alcoholism in your children. You can take the broken promises and illustrate how judgment is impaired with alcohol. Irritability by the alcoholic is taken personal by children and you can sort this out bringing clear understanding about the influence of alcohol.
Use these moments as a rational approach to avoid alcohol. Children may have a genetic link to alcoholism. It’s especially important to help them understand how important it is not to start drinking.
Don’t minimize alcoholic associated behavior
When you make excuses for alcoholic behavior you normalize it. Children already recognize this behavior as happening way too often. They modify their choices based on the intoxication of your alcoholic.
Take the opportunity to explain the alcoholic behavior and relate it to the alcohol. When much of the available money is consumed by alcohol use or promises are broken because of your alcoholic being intoxicated it’s important to help them know it’s the alcohol use that leads to the unwanted behavior.
It’s easier to blame the alcoholic for unwanted consequences but this isn’t productive for your children. Let them know the problems are the effects of alcohol use.
Answer your children’s questions about alcohol
Children ask very important questions about alcohol use. You may think they’re too young to understand. If you don’t give them the truth about what they question they will undoubtedly fill in the answer on their own. These answers certainly are not better than the truth.
Children wonder what they did to make alcoholic behaviors happen. They need parental involvement, when your alcoholic is in the bottle careful understanding words may help them make sense of the chaos.
Be an active parent
Children of alcoholics grow up with a lot of independence derived from necessity. They find themselves having to make grown up decisions way before they should be expected to bear them.
This sense of independence may be viewed as not needing much from their parents. The opposite is true. They need you to take an interest in what’s going on in their life. Even when the chaos of life with an alcoholic is all around their needs still are there waiting for interaction from you.
Don’t hide family history of alcoholism
Often there is a alcoholism in the family back several generations. Efforts to hide alcoholism only serves to cloud the issue of what alcohol really does to affect a family.
Behaviors associated with alcohol addiction may have resulted in things the family carries shame over and as a result the stories remain a secret.
Often these stories are windows into the consequences to be expected with out of control alcohol use. It may take the right timing to bring up these stories but they are a resource of deterrent for your children.