Alcohol and the Family Essay

1688 Words 7 Pages
Alcohol and the Family

In the United States alone, there are 28 million children of alcoholics - seven million of these children are under the age of eighteen. Every day, these children experience the horrors of living with an alcoholic parent. 40%-50% of children of alcoholics grow up and become alcoholics themselves. Others develop eating disorders or become workaholics. Children of alcoholics receive mixed messages, inconsistency, upredictability, betrayal, and sometimes physical and sexual abuse from their parents. They are made to grow up too fast because they must help keep the family structure together by doing housework and taking care of siblings since the alcoholic is not doing his or her part. Children form roles that
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In some cases the non-alcoholic parent may be harder for the kids to get along with than the alcoholic. He will probably feel worried and nervous because of his spouse's embarrassing behavior and this may accidentally be transferred to the children. He will get upset over minor issues. The enabler may compromise his values, tell lies, and sacrifice the children's happiness to cover up the disease. While the enabler is busy trying to smooth together all the mishaps the alcoholic has caused, the hero will be taking on the responsibilities of an adult.

The hero is usually the oldest child. He feels somehow responsible for his parent's behavior and so he tries to make it better by doing outstanding work in school and extracurricular activities so outsiders will be fooled into thinking that everything is as it should be. The hero provides self worth to the family but underneath he has feelings of inadequacy and low self esteem. The hero will abide by all the rules, do well in school and is often very popular.

The opposite of the hero, the scapegoat, takes attention off of the family by getting into trouble. He may get into fights at school, begin an interest in drugs, or run away from home. He would be the most disruptive and disobedient child at school. When he gets older and has a job, he will not be able to do anything right. Socially, scapegoats are outcasts. They feel lonely, hurt, afraid, and angry.

The next role is the lost child who
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