Having parents or family members that have addiction problems can make life very difficult for a child. In fact, addictive households can make the world a very uncertain and abusive environment for a child. This can lead to confusion, lack of coping skills and fears.
In most family relationships, addicts are neglectful and abusive. Abuse from an addict is usually multifaceted and can involve mental, physical and emotional abuse. Statistics have shown that abuse by addicts can cause long term damage to others in their life, especially children. When the victim of addiction is a child, the consequences can be very damaging.
How Children of Addiction End Up In The Foster Child System
That is why children who are exposed to addictive parents and who suffer from significant abuse and neglect often end up in the foster care system. The biggest concern for all children in these situations is protecting the child’s safety. Because addiction symptoms often include a significant preoccupation with the source of the addiction, parents who are addicted often become consumed with their sustaining the object of their addiction. The addiction can be all consuming beyond reasoning. This often leaves children with their basic needs unmet.
When a situation arises where a child’s basic needs are not cared for by a parent, this qualifies as neglect. In addition, parents who are submerged in addiction are also inclined to be or become abusive during the highs and lows of their substance abuse. This can involve either sexual, emotional, mental or physical abuse to the child or children in the household.
When any of these situations arise, it can be vitally important to remove the child from the home and look to find them proper foster care where they can be safe. While a foster home situation is far from ideal, it can be life saving and far superior to leaving a child in an abusive home situation. Foster homes are meant to offer a haven for children away from an abusive or neglectful home life.
The task of growing up into a productive functional adult doesn’t just happen by accident. It occurs when children have more positive examples in life than negative. It also happens much more readily to children that have learned to thrive through a series of events with supportive adult and family environments. When children can learn valuable lessons and get help from adults that care and love them, they can lead healthy adult lives. Through a healthy environment, they can learn they are more than the sum of their dysfunctional home life with their addicted parent or parents.
The foster care system is meant to act as an interruption of the negative events that can scar a child. The foster child care system is meant to offer a much-needed advocacy to children who have become embroiled in a world without hope from parents who are addicts.
While many parents who are addicts are suffering themselves, it is important for children to understand that their safety is paramount. It is important for a child to learn that with proper boundaries, a parent that is an addict will have many opportunities to get help from the system. While not all parents can rise above addiction, children need to understand that there are systems in place to help parents who seek to do so. If this is accomplished, then the reunion of parent and child can potentially occur down the road.
About The Author:
Chris Larson is a student at Harvard pursuing his Master’s in Psychology. He is currently writing his thesis on The Psychological Affects of Childhood Exposure to Drug Abuse.
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