Children should be able to trust their parent completely. This is a person who, usually, helped bring them into the world. But what happens when the parent is suffering from an addiction? Addiction doesn’t just affect the addict. It has far-reaching effects, many of which impact children and the relationship a child has with their parent. Here are 5 ways addiction can harm that relationship.

1. Decreased Trust

Parents are supposed to be protectors, but someone who is struggling with an addiction is unlikely to fill the role. A child might see a parent lying or stealing—even from that child—and trust declines. If a child can’t see their parent as someone who is trustworthy, they will be less likely to confide in their parent when they should, like if someone has acted inappropriately.

2. Increased Feelings of Worthlessness

Another job of any parent is to let a child know that he or she is worthy of time, patience, and love just to name a few. An addict may lack the clarity or even time to build up their child, which could have a huge effect on the child growing up. A person who feels unworthy often shoulders the blame for problems—even those that couldn't possibly be their fault, including their parent's addiction.

3. Fear

Whether it's alcohol or heroin, drug can alter a person's personality. They can cause erratic behavior, anger, and more. Children learn to fear parents who have become verbally or physically abusive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Those children might shirk away and try to make themselves invisible, perhaps learning not to make a sound when their parent is high and angry. The longer this goes on, the more of an impact it can have on a child, perhaps leading to anxiety later.

4. Breeds Resentment

Sometimes children wind up taking on the roles of the parent, because their drug-addicted parent isn’t doing their role. They make sure mom or dad gets to bed safely, wakes up for work, or eats on a daily basis. But this isn't a child’s role, and any kid who finds themselves in this position can understandably feel resentment. As they grow up, this could easily turn into anger toward the parent who didn't allow the child to experience their childhood.

5. Pushes A Child Away

Some children deal with a parent's addiction by putting as much space between themselves and their addicted parent as possible. They might run away, spend time with other friends or family or simply lock themselves in their bedroom to avoid dealing with their parent. Whether distance is physical or not, it certainly creates emotional distance.

A long-term addiction that goes unchecked can certainly be detrimental to a parent-child relationship. But addicts can seek help from an addiction treatment center to manage their addictions can prevent relationships with their kids from becoming permanently damaged.

Author's Bio: 

Claire Stewart is a freelance writer and blogger focused on writing about health, travel, and business among other topics. She graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelors in Women’s Studies and currently lives in Seattle with her goldfish, Merlin.