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Children have a lot of questions and fears when someone in their family drinks too much alcohol, especially a parent. When children don't have answers to their questions, they tend to come up with their own, which can be incorrect and scary!
When a family member has an alcohol problem, it can easily become a secret that nobody talks about. All children need some explanation and support, geared to their age, to help them understand drinking problems.
Each parent and child's first conversations about alcohol problems will be different. How you address the subject will depend on the child's age and ability to handle the information. But children can often understand more than you might think.
Lots of people drink alcohol and don't have problems. But this is not true for everyone. There are many possible reasons why someone may have a problem with alcohol, but sometimes the causes are not known. There are also different reasons why people begin drinking too much. At first, people may drink alcohol because it makes them feel better or more relaxed, or because it seems like fun. Some people may gradually begin to drink more, while for others heavy drinking may start more suddenly. In some cases, stress or other mental health problems may lead a person to drink more alcohol.
Remember, not all alcohol use is a problem. It ranges from non?problem drinking to addiction.
All these feelings are normal. Even scary feelings are OK.
Yes. The good news is that people with alcohol problems can get better.
When people have an alcohol problem, they may lie and say things they don't mean, which can really hurt people's feelings. People may not admit the bad things that are happening in their lives (either to themselves or to others) because of their drinking. When someone is drunk, his or her judgment is off, or "impaired." The person may do dangerous things, such as driving or getting into fights.
When kids have a parent with an alcohol problem, they may go through times when they feel angry, sad or scared. They may be afraid to talk about their feelings. Sometimes they just may not know what to do.
There are a lot of things kids can do. Joining clubs, playing sports and hanging out with friends are all great ideas. So is spending time with other adults who don't have problems with alcohol (for example, sports coaches, teachers and other grown-up relatives).
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