How to Help an Alcoholic Child
Finding out that your child is an alcoholic can be devastating. Many parents and other adults simply can't believe that a child can be an alcoholic. Since alcoholism is usually associated with adults, it can go undetected for quite some time. There are a myriad of options to assist the adult with understanding and coping with the disease, however the options severely decrease when it comes to childhood alcoholism. Here are a few ways to help an alcoholic child. Learn as much as you possibly can about alcoholism. The more you know about the disease, the more you will know about which stage of alcoholism the child is in. Knowing this information will better prepare you to handle what the child may be experiencing. No one can force the child to stop drinking except the child; therefore, the child has to make that decision to quit before they can be helped. The child may feel encouraged to stop drinking if there is a strong, supportive family to call on. Seek to truly understand the dangers of childhood alcohol abuse. Take the time to explain to the child that drinking alcohol can lead to a host of problems such as liver failure, heart trouble and even death. The child may be unaware or think he is impervious to the common dangers that are attributed to alcoholism. Help him understand that when someone tries to warn him of the dangers, they are not lecturing. Be proactive and use analogies that he will understand. Refrain from allowing the child to hang around friends and associates that will enable him. When the child begins to stop drinking, he may experience symptoms such as body shakes, an elevated temperature and a longing to take a drink of alcohol. This is an important time to keep the child in a positive atmosphere and give continued encouragement, even if he is experiencing the physical pains associated with quitting alcohol. Take the child to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting to meet other children in the same situation. This will allow the child to see that he is not alone and others are experiencing the same difficult situation. Attend each meeting with the child until he is able to realize that he is actually an alcoholic. It is important that the child understand that he can not recover until he fully comprehends that he has a disease. Help the child to find positive activities and reinforcement. He is less likely to turn to alcohol if he is engaged in fun and constructive activities. He can find a hobby such as playing a piano or any other activity that he can use as an alternative escape.