Children are a family’s most precious asset. However, in some families, children do not receive the love or the care that they deserve. In some homes, children instead experience physical, verbal, or other attacks that cause them harm. Instead of living with their parents’ love, these children live in fear. Alcohol only worsens the problem, as it can make parents more angry or aggressive toward their children. In some instances, alcohol may even be a trigger for the abuse. The damage that alcohol and abuse can cause a child can last a lifetime without proper help and therapy. Alcoholism and child abuse are a tragic combination, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
The Link Between Alcoholism and Child Abuse
Connections between alcohol abuse and child abuse have undergone a significant amount of study. The results of these tests are often inconsistent in terms of how large of a role alcohol plays in the problem of child abuse. In some studies, the abuse of children was directly related to the use of alcohol, while in other cases, there appeared to be no direct correlation. According to ChildHelp, however, up to two-thirds of the cases of child abuse involved the use of substances. It also notes that parents who abuse alcohol are as much as three times more likely to abuse their children than parents who do not.
Alcoholism in Adults Abused as Children
Research has shown that for some people who have experienced abuse as a child, there is an increased risk of alcoholism. These adults turn to alcohol for a number of suspected reasons, including poor coping skills, psychological problems, and/or antisocial behavior. This phenomenon was found in women who had suffered through abuse of either a physical or a sexual nature as children. This only perpetuates the cycle of alcoholism and child abuse.
Types of Child Abuse
In addition to emotional abuse, there are three additional types of child abuse. These include both physical and sexual abuse, as well as neglect. Physical abuse is when a parent or other adult hits, kicks, or otherwise beats a child. Physical abuse can also involve the use of weapons such as knives or guns. Children who suffer this type of abuse often show physical signs such as cuts, burns, or black eyes. Sexual abuse, as its name implies, is the abuse of a child in a sexual manner. Voyeurism and exposing children to pornography are also forms of sexual abuse, even though there is no physical contact. Neglect is a form of abuse in that children do not receive the proper attention or care that they need. This involves failure to supervise them, feed them, or provide medical care.
Preventing Child Abuse
The prevention of child abuse is something that everyone can participate in. If there is a suspicion that a child is experiencing neglect, people should immediately contact the police if it appears to be an emergency situation. If it’s not an emergency, they should call their local social services department. People can also offer their assistance to parents who are having difficulties with parenting. For example, if a friend or neighbor seems overwhelmed, a person can offer to babysit or help by finding someone who can. Participation in groups such as Big Brothers Big Sisters is also useful in preventing abuse. Donations to organizations are also a way to indirectly support their efforts to end child abuse and neglect.
Alcohol Abuse Treatment
In order to successfully treat alcohol abuse, people must first recognize that they have a problem. Friends and family may help the abuser see how alcohol is affecting not only their life but also that of the child. To get the help that is needed, a person has several choices: They may go to rehab, sign up for a self-help program, or seek therapy. If the person seeking help has been involved in child abuse, treatment in a rehab clinic or visits with a therapist may provide the help that is needed. Group sessions with others who have abused alcohol may be a supplemental option that helps one stay sober.
Alcoholism and child abuse is an unfortunate combination that affects many families. However, alcoholism treatment is available that can prevent the abuse before it occurs. Contact Morningside Recovery at 855-631-2135 to learn more about our alcoholism rehab program.
By Michelle Conway