ERIC Number: ED335562
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Children of Alcoholics/Addicts: Children at Risk.
Gover, F. Jill
Children of alcoholics/addicts (COAs) are at a greater risk to develop alcohol and drug dependency, eating disorders, attention deficit disorders, stress-related illness, and suicidal behavior. Children become part of a conspiracy of silence by being told not to talk about the drug problem. The family members assume different roles which unintentionally allow the chemically dependent person to continue the addiction. The spouse usually assumes the role of chief enabler, protecting and covering up for the addict. The oldest child often takes on the role of the family hero, an overachiever who is always trying to be perfect. The scapegoat decides he or she is not going to try to compete with the family hero, and so takes on the role of the "bad" child, getting into trouble, and acting out the pain and anger in the family. The middle child is usually the "lost" child, the invisible, quiet one whose purpose is to not be a burden on the family. Frequently the youngest child takes on the role of the mascot; he acts cute, mischievous, and endearing. Family members can assume two or more roles simultaneously or take on different roles at different times. Low self-esteem is further exacerbated by feelings of shame. Without intervention, these children are at great risk to continue the family cycle of addiction and self-destructive behaviors. (LLL)
Publication Type: Reports - General; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Children of Alcoholics; Children of Substance Abusers
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the California Peer Counseling Association (7th, Anaheim, CA, March 4-5, 1991).