Real Life Answers: Alcoholism Runs in Our Family; How Do We Protect Our Kids?

Many of our family members struggle with alcoholism. How do we prevent our young children from following in their footsteps?

You’re terrific. You’re asking the right questions at the right time in your kids’ lives. Didn’t someone once say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” Unfortunately, most parents ask too late.

Here’s the bad news and the good news. Because of alcoholism on both sides of your family, your kids are at least at a four times greater risk to be alcoholics without a “drug proof plan.” It is almost universally agreed upon that there is a biological predisposition to alcoholism. This means since you have alcoholics in your family, the genetic factor must be seriously taken into consideration. With this fact in mind, your children will have to understand from a young age that they may not be able to consume alcohol without a much greater risk of becoming an alcoholic. One of the reasons why I chose not to drink was because of the role model I wanted to be to our three girls who could have a biological predisposition to alcohol from our family background.

Here’s the good news. When parents put together an active, comprehensive plan their kids will be much less “at-risk” of having drinking or drugging problems. The plan must include:
• Self-examination. The greatest predictor of adolescent drinking and drugging lies in the attitude and behavior of their parents toward alcohol and drugs.
• Education. You and your kids must understand the latest information about drugs and alcohol abuse. Read books, go to lectures, and become a student of the culture.
• Communicate. Make it your priority to keep the communication lines open with your kids. Do they feel comfortable talking to you about drugs and alcohol?
• Set the pace with spiritual values. Kids from families where Christian values are shared are not immune, but they do have a better chance of not indulging in drinking and drugging abuse.

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Jim Burns

Jim Burns is the president of HomeWord. He speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has close to 2 million resources in print in 20 languages. He primarily writes and speaks on the values of HomeWord, which are: Strong Marriages, Confident Parents, Empowered Kids, and Healthy Leaders. Some of his most popular books are: Confident Parenting, The Purity Code, Creating an Intimate Marriage, Closer, and Doing Life with Your Adult Children. Jim and his wife, Cathy, live in Southern California and have three grown daughters, Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi; three sons-in-law, Steve and Matt, and Andy; and three grandchildren, James, Charlotte and Huxley.

  • About HomeWord

    HomeWord helps families succeed by creating Biblical resources that build strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. Founded by Jim Burns, HomeWord seeks to advance the work of God in the world by educating, equipping, and encouraging parents and churches. Learn More »

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