Substance abuse is an ongoing problem in our society. Although addiction can have serious ramifications for those who are crushed by its grip, it can also have a ripple effect, causing damage to those who are closest to a substance abuser. Sadly, this includes children.
And substance abuse can have a profound impact on children. To start, drug often strips a parent away from his or her parental responsibilities. Therefore, exposure to drug use can leave a child with the heavy responsibility of caring for siblings, and they often develop a lack of trust in their caregiver. These children tend to develop anxiety and depression, and their emotional growth is often stunted. They can also develop cognitive limitations that can affect them for years to come.
Children of substance abusers are also more likely to be subjected to abuse and neglect. Parents who abuse drugs and alcohol are less able to handle stress and control their emotions. This can result in explosive outbursts or, on the other end of the spectrum, neglectful behavior. In turn, abused and neglected children can struggle academically, exhibit aggressive behaviors, and suffer irreparable physical harm. Taken together, all of these effects of parental substance abuse can destroy a child’s well-being.
Therefore, parents need to do everything they can to protect their children. This may include seeking a child custody modification or restrictions on a noncustodial parent’s visitation. To successfully do so, though, parents need to be armed with compelling evidence that demonstrates why their proposal supports the child’s best interests. This isn’t always easy to do, especially when the child’s other parent aggressively fights back. For this reason, it is often wise to obtain assistance from a skilled family law attorney when addressing these matters.