What Can Kids Do?

Here are a few suggestions for you:

DO talk about how you feel. You can talk with a safe person in your life - maybe a close friend, relative, school counselor, nurse, teacher, minister, rabbi, or others. Sharing your feelings is not being mean to your family. When you talk to someone, you might feel less alone. Talking to someone about your feelings can help you feel less alone.

DO try to get involved in doing enjoyable things at school or near where you live--the school band, softball, Boy or Girl Scouts, or others. Doing these types of activities can help you forget about the problems at home, and you could learn new things about yourself and about how other people live their lives.

DO remember that feeling afraid and alone is a normal way to feel when you live with alcoholic parents. It's confusing to hate the disease of alcoholism at the same time that you love your alcoholic parent. All people have confusing feelings: two different feelings at the same time. This is the way many kids feel about alcoholic parents.

DO remember to have fun! Sometimes children with alcoholic families worry so much that they forget how to be "just a kid." If things are bad at home, you might not have anyone who will help you have fun, but don't let that stop you. Find a way to let yourself have fun.

DON'T ride in a car when the driver has been drinking if you can avoid it. It is not safe. Walk or try to get a ride with an adult friend who has not been drinking. If your parents are going out to drink somewhere, try not to go with them. If you must get in a car with a drinking driver, sit in the back seat in the middle. Lock your door. Put on your safety belt. Try to stay calm.

DON'T think that because your parent is an alcoholic you will be one too. Most children of alcoholics do not become alcoholics themselves.

DON'T pour out or try to water down your parent's alcohol. The plain fact is that it won't work. You have no control over the drinking. You didn't make the problem start, and you can't make it stop. It is up to your parent to get treatment. What your parent does is not your responsibility or your fault.