In a family where a parent is experiencing addiction, children are most often the first to be hurt and the last to be helped. They are the “silent sufferers” of a public health crisis. Research tells us is that they are the highest risk for repeating the familial cycle of addiction and they are at greater risk for experiencing multiple Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Common responses to the adversity and trauma for children and youth of addicted parents include feelings of helplessness, depression, uncertainty, generalized fear and anxiety, difficulty sleeping, aggressive behavior, physical symptoms, changes in school performance, social withdrawal, rebellion, increased risky behavior and eating disorders.
There are proven approaches to reducing the impact of these multiple risk factors and helping identified children and youth cope with their current circumstances and have the promise of a more hopeful future. Additionally, ways to build and strengthen resiliency and protective factors in various circumstances will be examined.