What Ticks Me Off

Well, to be honest, a lot of things do. But what is ticking me off lately is the cross-generational nature of alcoholism and addiction. What I’m referring to is how the kids that addicts and alcoholics raise are more likely to repeat the same mistakes their parents did.
Some of the stats on the children of alcoholic parents show how it goes …

  • The risk someone will become an alcoholic increases by four times if they have an alcoholic parent – by eight times if both parents are alcoholics.
  • Teens with alcoholic parents are more likely to be anxious and depressed than their peers.
  • The personalities of these teens are often over-controlling in school (think anal and perfectionist) because they have little control in their home environment.
  • The risk of them turning to alcohol while still in their teen years jumps up, along with drinking and driving and other risky behaviors.

Yes, I know this is supposed to be a rationale for alcoholism as a genetic trait passed on by the parents to the kids. But it’s also the environment of chaos found in alcoholic families. Propensity is not destiny, and the effects aren’t just genetic.

There’s a news story on this site about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. That ticks me off too.

It’s a case of the deeds of a parent written in the flesh and the mind of a child. It’s the visible symbol of the damage that an alcoholic parent can do, even when they have a normal child and the scars are internal instead of deformities in a fetus.

I’m mad enough to start thinking about Draconian measures. Removing children or, even better, issuing some sort of license to have offspring. Even though I know this wouldn’t work, it really seems that our modern family structure, without grandma or grandpa around to fill in, just makes bad parents capable of even more damage.

Alternatively, I’d go for a preemptive cure in vulnerable populations. There has to be a way to impact these kid’s lives for the better. Again, I think our modern lifestyles push the traditional options of sports, church or something like the Boy Scouts further away. I wouldn’t bet that online activities and texting have the same benefits as extra-curricular activities with healthy peers.

Ah, no worries … I’ll recover from being upset and life will go on. And the innocent victims of parental alcoholism will continue the cycle unabated. C’est la vie.

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