Previous research has shown that children are greatly affected by problem drinking of their parents. A 2015 doctoral dissertation submitted to the University of Hertfordshire highlights many challenges that these children face both growing up and long after they’ve moved out:
- Family disharmony and dysfunction
- Codependency – living out values and making decisions based on someone or something else
- Romantic relationships and their desire to “fix” their partner; fear of not being able to control them
- Loss sense of self
- Low self-esteem
- Sense of lost childhood
Since these challenges can be very distressing as individuals are learning their own sense of self, naturally feelings of guilt, regret, anger, and more may be present. Studies have explored ways to help children of parents with alcoholism cope with their experiences and move forward with their lives; a study published in Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly explored forgiveness intervention, designed to help individuals who have suffered because of betrayals, offenses, or victimization. Twelve adults were randomly assigned to treatment conditions for 12 weeks; one group was assigned conflict resolution and the other just forgiveness therapy. Both groups showed significant psychological improvements in terms of depression, forgiveness, anxiety, self-esteem, anger, and positive relationships. If an adult child does decide to forgive their parent, how might they arrive to this?
Twenty participants shared their stories in a 2015 study published in the journal titled “Qualitative Research Reports in Communication”, with the results indicating a number of ways in which adult children were able to forgive their parents:
- Desire for personal well-being
- Recovery for the parent with alcoholism
The study found that most of the time, adult children forgave their parents in indirect ways, such as speaking to them more or saying something kind. Other forms were more semi-direct or fully direct, having explicit conversations with their parents. If you are a parent who has struggled with alcoholism, recognize that it may take some time for your adult child to come around. They need therapy too, to help them move on. If you haven’t already, getting into a reputable treatment program is necessary step that you need to take in order to take back control over your life and potentially recover any damaged relationships. Don’t wait any longer.
Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665.