Essay by Anonymous UserA+, June 1996

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MILLIONS of youths endure the daily turmoil of living with an alcoholic parent. Says the book Teen Troubles': Living with an alcoholic parent means living with stress-stress that come at you from a dozen directions.' A high proportion of alcoholic parents abuse their children physically or sexually. And even when the situation is not so extreme, the book Options notes 'if drinking makes [the alcoholic parent] unpredictable, irresponsible, reckless, or moody, it's bad enough.' No wonder, then that many teens may feel angry, embarrassed, or frustrated at times. This is why as teacher we need to learn how to help children with their problems that they may have with their parents who are alcoholic. My paper is based on Understanding the Problem, How Teens are Affected, and Helping Teens to Cope.

Understand the Problem

First of all, it helps to gain some insight into why parents drinks in the first place.

An alcoholic is not simply someone who gets drunk once in a while, nor is an alcoholic necessarily a drunkard. Experts define alcoholism as a chronic drinking disorder that causes grievous problems affecting life, work, and health. The alcoholic is preoccupied-obsessed-with alcohol and simply cannot control its consumption. Most experts agree that alcoholism can be controlled only by total abstinence from alcohol. While alcoholism may involve some physiological quirks that me makes certain people more prone to alcohol addiction, emotional factors also appear to be involved. For example, chronically self-loathing often lurks beneath an alcoholic's exterior. 'In my experience.' Says Dr. Abraham Twerski, 'I have never come across an alcoholic who had a positive sense of self-worth, feelings of adequacy and self-confidence, prior to becoming involved with alcohol.' Indeed, many alcoholics grew up in alcoholic families. Drinking may serve to numb the pain of their childhood...