The 6 Most Common Challenges Faced By Children Growing Up In Addicted Homes

Growing up in an addicted home is confusing, frustrating, and scary for obvious reasons, but it's essential to keep in mind that everybody's experience is slightly different. Even kids who grow up in the same addicted home have a different experience. 

It's all fun and games until...

Some kids growing up in an addicted home may see the addicted parent as the fun parent. Maybe the parent is happy or silly while intoxicated, and the parent might even let the kid get by with a lot more. When this happens, it can put the other parent in a bad guy position.


Many kids growing up in addicted homes experience a lot of gaslighting where one or both parents try to cover for the addictive behavior by convincing the kid that what they think is happening isn't happening, or that it's not that bad, or that it's normal. Kids growing up in addicted homes often feel guilty. A big reason for this is the adults in the home walk on eggshells to try to keep the peace with the addicted person. When the addicted person has a big reaction to even minor things that happen with the kid or to the kid, it makes the kid feel responsible for the outcome.

Parental Enmeshment

Sometimes one of the parents in the addicted home will over-align with one or more of the kids. This can go either way. Sometimes the addicted parent over-aligns with the kid, vilifying the non-addictive parent, and they call the other one controlling, mean, and naggy.
Then sometimes, the non-addicted parent over-aligns with the kid because they're not getting any of their needs met by their spouse. They start relying on the kid to be their best friend or helper--this is called parental enmeshment. It puts way too much pressure on the kid.

Emotionally Unavailable

We already know that the addicted parent probably doesn't have the emotional capacity to be fully available to the kid, but sometimes the non-addicted parent, because they're so frustrated and overwhelmed and exhausted with the situation, they check out too. In this situation, having two checked-out parents leaves the kids emotionally and sometimes physically on their own.

Amber Hollingsworth

These are just a few of the experiences kids in addicted houses go through, but if you want to know how those experiences affect them when they're adults, watch this video next.

Growing Up With a Functional Alcoholic/Addict Parent (The Uncomfortable Truth)

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