CHILDLINE: Having a parent with an alcohol addiction is tough for young people
But having a parent who has an addiction or misuses alcohol can make things particularly tough for young people.
This week (February 11-17) marks Children of Alcoholics Week, and the NSPCC is urging adults to speak out if they are concerned about a child while the National Association of Children of Alcoholics (NACOA), are encouraging children to reach out for support.
The NSPCC wants to encourage adults to speak out if they are concerned about a child so that children and families can be supported.
Last year, more than 71,500 children in England who were subject to a Child in Needs assessment were identified as having a parent who misused alcohol.
In that same period, the NSPCC’s Helpline took an average of six calls every day from adults who were concerned about a child linked to alcohol or substance misuse, and the NSPCC’s Childline service delivered 338 counselling sessions to children and young people on the same issue.
One 15-year-old girl told Childline: "My mum is up and down – sometimes she’s fine and sober – but it can quickly change and she becomes worse again…[she] gets abusive when she’s drunk and gets angry at me and my sisters. I don’t like being at home."
Living with a parent who misuses alcohol can leave children feeling isolated, confused, embarrassed and ashamed. This is an issue that is often not talked about within a family and attempts are made to hide it.
Children living in these environments might become withdrawn or develop behavioural, emotional or mental health problems. They may have taken on the responsibility of caring for their parents or siblings, or they might appear unkempt or in unclean clothing.
Every child deserves to feel safe and loved at home, and nobody has to cope alone. That’s where our service comes in.
Childline is there 24 hours a day, free and in confidence on 0800 1111 and at www.childline.org.uk
The NACOA’s Helpline is also available to anyone affected by a parent’s drinking – children, adults and professionals. They can be reached on 0800 358 3456 or at [email protected]