Addiction to drugs or alcohol can affect all types of families, including those with wealth. It leads to marital problems that typically culminate in divorce. While you may be relieved that you must no longer live with an addict, you are still involved in their addiction if you share children.
Even though you may want to avoid your co-parent whenever possible, your kids cannot because of your custody and visitation order. For example, your co-parent likely has the right to spend time with your kids alone. Are they safe with your addicted ex, and if not, what can you do about it?
How does parental addiction affect children?
Parental addiction can be scary for young children and psychologically upsetting for teen kids. Even young kids know more about parental behaviors and problems than most parents believe. This intuition means that most children know when their parent has a substance abuse problem, even if they cannot put it into words.
Influence from an alcoholic parent can lead to the following long-term health and safety issues for children.
- Assuming a caregiver role with the addicted parent
- Insufficient care due to parental incapacity
- Possible exposure to violence and crime
- Exposure to addictive substances
- High risk of criminal activity
- High risk of addiction
Children of addicts also frequently experience emotional problems like depression, anger, anxiety and guilt. Without help, they often cannot process or cope with these emotions successfully.
What can you do about your concerns?
Most states, including California, allow parents to modify child custody and visitation orders when they fail to protect kids. Consider taking your story to a family law professional to learn more about protecting your kids from the potentially harmful effects of an addicted parent.