]This week is the week of Children of Alcoholics (CoA) – an international arrangement that brings more attention to the kids affected by the alcohol problems of their parents. CoA weeks are being held in the USA and in Europe, in Germany, Romania, Sweden, the UK, Bulgaria, Poland, Macedonia and Slovenia.
In UK there are 1 million CoA. In Poland 2 millions. In Sweden it’s every 5th child, only in EU according to the statistics that the countries managed to gather it’s 9 million kids. Alcohol in a family has an immense impact on the kids’ childhood and their future life.
It leads to dysfunctional family where the substance comes first before all the family members; an unsafe family environment that has huge impact on kids’ development; limiting social life for the kids with their peers; lack of attention and affection; low self-esteem; worsen economical situation; limited perspectives for future education. The children of alcoholics very often tend to develop alcohol dependency themselves and reproduce the problem.
Despite all the negative consequences, the CoA usually need to deal with the problem on their own. Society considers alcohol use in families a taboo. None talks about it. It’s a secret among peers, media prefer to glamourize alcohol use, schools do not even take up the topic, which creates an impression that this problem does not exist and that those few visible cases are just an embarrassing exception.
Weeks like this are very important to start the discussion, to take off the veil and let the CoA know that it’s not normal that their parents use alcohol instead of helping them with homework, that the kids are supposed to play instead of taking care of drunk parents and that it’s more important to have bread in the kitchen than beer in the fridge.
This week is an awareness week for all of us – those who have never faced the problem themselves and those who live it everyday. It’s our responsibility to acknowledge the existence of the problem and create conditions that will prevent its multiplication.