Next week (Feb 14th-20th) is Children of Alcohol Awareness Week where we take a little time to focus not on the addict, but those affected by the addiction.
It has always been said that alcoholism is a family disease, meaning that is takes a hold of everyone connected to its devastation, children included. And so with that, we take this week to focus on those kids and what we can do to help them through this difficult journey.
Did you know that one in four children live in a family effected by addiction?
Think about how many kids or teens that is in your classroom if you are a teacher, on your team if you are a coach, or in a group you’re involved with if you are a parent. It is an astronomical number and one that is often never known because it is known to be a silent population, making it hard to figure out which children are impacted. Here are some other facts of Children of Alcoholics (COA) you may not have known:
- $32 billion is the estimated amount spend on non-fatal child maltreatment issues associated with children of alcoholics
- 43% of adults in the US have been affected by alcoholism in their family
- 78% of abandoned infants have been exposed to alcohol and/or other drugs
So what can we do to help if we don’t even know who is affected? We can be the lighthouse in the dark for these kids to come to us for support. We can make it openly known to all that we are knowledgeable on the topic, have resources, and are there for them to come to us. They do not need to be alone or suffer in silence with a hardship that would be difficult for any adult to handle, let alone a child. There are so many different support groups, youth programs, and ALATEEN for a child of an alcoholic family to be involved in.
Multiple websites can be tapped into to help you during this awareness week, but below are two in particular that I want to highlight. The first is a link of educational recourses that will help an adult feel more prepared on the topic, as well as printouts for kids/teens to make sure the message is heard - http://www.nacoa.org/coaweek_resources.html. The second is a link just for the COA him/herself. It is very kid friendly, welcoming, informative, and great to get the ball rolling on what can be a hard conversation - http://www.nacoa.org/kidspage.html.
Take this opportunity next week to be the guiding light for a child that needs your help.