10 ways drugs and alcohol affect parenting

10 Ways Drugs and Alcohol Affect Parenting

Last Updated: Tue, January 23, 2024

If you're a parent, then you know that parenting takes a lot of energy. You have to stay alert and be on top of things constantly to make sure your kids are safe and doing well. It's not for those who aren't willing to commit their lives fully to the task at hand! There's no such thing as "coping with children in an inebriated state." Kids notice things like that right away and may act out accordingly. When you're under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you aren't capable of giving your kids the kind of care they need. They will often end up feeling neglected when all you wanted to do was relax.

Here're 10 ways drugs and alcohol might affect parenting:

1. You're More Prone to Aggressive Behavior

If you drink heavily, then you may become more likely to use aggression and violence against the people around you, including your kids. You might start spanking them or yelling at them for no reason – things that will not only scare them but cause long-term harm as well. You might not feel like you are doing anything wrong, but the kids will suffer either way.

2. Your Kids Will be More Prone to Violence

If you're out of control with your own behavior, then you'll pass that on to your children as well -- even if subconsciously. The more aggressive and violent you are, the more aggressive and violent they will be. They could start misbehaving in school and having trouble making friends. This can lead to additional problems down the road.

3. You Might Start Neglecting Your Child's Basic Needs

If you drink or do drugs heavily enough, then you may not even realize that you're neglecting your kids. They might go hungry or get sick from eating tainted food or drinking impure water, and you just won't realize it because of the substances in your system. Your children deserve so much better than that!

4. You Don't See Problems Until It's Too Late

Drugs and alcohol can make you extremely oblivious. You might not see that your child is struggling with depression or bullying until it's too late. The problem could escalate into something tragic because you were unable to notice the warning signs.

10 ways drugs and alcohol affect parenting

5. Your Kids Might Try Drugs/Alcohol Themselves

If they see how much fun you're having with drugs and alcohol, your kids might want to try it themselves. Peer pressure can be a very strong factor that makes children and teens give into the desire to do drugs and drink alcohol. It's often too much for them to resist, and they're likely to try substances just so they can belong somewhere – even if it means you're there waiting for them.

6. You Could Lose Control of Your Kids

Drugs and alcohol can hurt your ability to control the direction that your child's life is heading in. They might be hanging out with people you don't approve of, and it will be harder for you to put a stop to it if you're under the influence yourself. You could be jeopardizing your child's safety without even realizing it.

7. You Will Have Less Physical Energy

If you're drinking or doing drugs heavily, then you will have less physical energy than usual to spend on parenting. Your kids will need guidance and support in practical ways like making their beds, doing homework, and keeping their rooms clean. If you're not capable of doing these things, then the responsibility to help them falls onto their shoulders, and it can be too much for a young child or teenager to handle alone.

8. You Might Miss Important Events in Your Child's Life

Focusing on drugs or alcohol can become an all-consuming activity that will eat up all your energy, time, and money. You might start missing important events like parents' evening at school, parent-teacher meetings, performances, sports games, or awards ceremonies. You can still make it to these things if you try really hard (and if they aren't happening too often), but if your kids need you a lot then a drug or alcohol problem might stop you from being there for them when they really need you.

9. You Might Stop Taking Care of Your Kids' Hygiene

If you're under the influence, then you might not have the mental energy to remember to take care of your kids' hygiene. It could get very uncomfortable for them if they start smelling bad or looking dirty because you've got other things on your mind. You don't even have to be drunk or high to neglect your child's hygiene -- it could just be that you're too busy with other things in life and forget that this is important.

10. Your kids might have a greater risk of living with mental illness

Parental substance abuse puts children at a higher risk for mental health problems later in life, including anxiety, depression, and PTSD due to the associated risks. Parents who are sober are better able to provide emotional support for their kids through difficult times, which can help alleviate symptoms of serious mental illness.

drug addiction triggers


The most important thing for parents who abuse drugs or alcohol to remember is that kids need stability and consistent love from their parents. Parents with addiction issues should make every effort to seek treatment before family life becomes unmanageable and also ensure that they remain involved with their children's lives by attending school events and maintaining contact with the other parent. Kids need parents who are in control of their addiction, not ones who let it control them.

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