There are many of these individuals, and it is time that this is changed.
Parents often look away from these kinds of problems, or they spend their time in denial of the issue because they feel that their child will not be harmed by parental involvement with drugs or alcohol. Some parents have parents that were/are addicts themselves, and some are so busy with their lives that they do not actually realize that their child has any kind of problem with the lifestyle of the parent until it becomes so severe that it cannot be overlooked, or until it is brought to their attention by police, the school, or someone else that has seen it first hand. Parents are not the only ones that overlook this issue, though.
Sometimes siblings and friends also see problems that they ignore, do not understand, or do not talk to anyone about, and the school system cannot watch every child every second that they are in attendance. Children that have parents that are substance abusers are much more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol themselves, especially as they reach their teenage years, and therefore changing the actions of the parents is one way to slow the growth of substance abusers in this country and help a future generation avoid these problems.
Teachers have busy class loads, and unless there is a marked and obvious change in the behavior of a student, it will often go unnoticed by teachers and others in the school system. Usually, the problem comes to light when the adolescent has some severe problem such as would involve police, a suicide attempt, or other cry for help that simply cannot be ignored. This is not the first sign of a problem with drug or alcohol addiction, but it is often the first one that parents and others notice. Even if the adolescent is not abusing drugs or alcohol, this cry for help may come from being overwhelmed by the home environment and what is taking place there where substance abuse is concerned.
The children in this country are the future, and they must be taken care of and protected as much as possible. This is often difficult to do, and there are so many potential problems when one is young, but where treatment for addiction is concerned, the completion of this treatment and the reasons behind their admission are ways to help protect these individuals from the damage that their parents are doing. These parents, particularly the youngest ones, are in many ways still children, and they must learn how to protect themselves and their children from some of the dangers that they face as they grow up and explore their world.
All studies must have a strong purpose, and this one affects one of the nation's most precious resources - children. Even though these children likely see themselves as adults or nearly adults, they are really still children. They have often had to grow up very fast and take care of themselves because of their parents' addiction, and some of the children that were exposed to drugs and alcohol while still in the womb have developmental problems that they are fighting to overcome. They are still growing and changing their beliefs and their sense of self. Because of this, they need more protection from themselves and from others than they actually think they do, and the idea of making sure that their parents get treatment is one way to do this for them. It helps to protect them from the impulses and desires that their parents have, and it helps to protect others from those same things. It also helps to protect the children from others that might be unscrupulous enough to con them into some idea that would be dangerous, such as getting involved with the same kinds of addictive behaviors that their parents are involved in or moving on from the drugs that they may consider using to those that are more addictive and dangerous.
It should be understood that there is no way to completely children from doing dangerous things, and there are also plenty of adults that will do the same thing. The issue is, however, that adults often get away with difficult or dangerous things because they are more skilled at them and even though they still should be avoided, an adult that has been performing this kind of behavior for some time has more ability to predict how likely they are to continue to get away with this behavior. The key is to stop these parents from engaging in this type of behavior to protect their children, and to show them why they are headed down the incorrect road and the damage that it could be doing to others.
Significance of the Project
It is necessary and pertinent to discuss the significance of a study, and this particular study is important to many people across the country. Since children and teenagers are the future of this country and will be running it when they get older, they must be protected. It is not always easy to protect them because they often feel as though they do not need it - especially when they get into their middle and late teenage years. When they see the kinds of behaviors that their parents are involved in, they begin to view these behaviors as acceptable. Often at a young age they begin to feel as though they are capable of making their own decisions and taking care of themselves. This assumption is broadly true, since they are able to do many things that they will need to do later in life without assistance, but they must understand when their parents make poor choices, and the parents must also understand how to take care of their children properly and the damage that they are doing to themselves and their children by becoming involved with drugs and alcohol.
Many adolescents get involved with drugs and alcohol because of peer pressure, and while campaigns that teach them from a young age to 'just say no' are proving to be fairly effective, they do not work for all children, or there would be no adolescent addiction issue to discuss. Because it has been seen that these kinds of campaigns are not preventing adolescents from using drugs and alcohol, something must be done that will work better. Baring this, treatment programs for these individuals must be more effective, so that fewer adolescents that complete these programs will go back to using drugs and alcohol when they are released from treatment.
Ways to make these treatment programs more effective are not the focus of this study, but they are certainly worthy of future consideration in other research. Most important for this study is to determine what needs to be done for the parents of these adolescents and younger children, so that the addictive behaviors that the parent has will be stopped and will not project themselves onto the child. It appears that there is a strong likelihood that allowing parents to have their children with them during recovery will help stop these parents from relapsing and will teach them much more about the needs of their children. If this does in fact turn out to be the case then the reasons behind this should be determined. There may be many ways to increase the chances of those parents that are ordered to go through treatment, and there may be ways to make parents that would normally be ordered to go to treatment feel as though they want to attend it. Making it seem voluntary to them and allowing them to have their children with them during the recovery process may make all of the difference. This study will seek to show whether that assumption is accurate. If it is, it will open the door to future research and speculation on the issue.
The significance of this project involves incorporating the mother and child in the recovery process to help reduce the chance of relapse. If a more functional and loving relationship can be established then the mother is less likely to relapse back into an active addiction lifestyle. This is an important issue because Baker (2000 p. 870) found that most residential treatment facilities do not allow children or offer childcare services. If children are not permitted and childcare services are not offered, how do these women and their children begin to work on the recovery process of repairing their relationship?
Having worked in the recovery field for six years at a residential facility which does allow children and provides childcare services, I have found a need for such a curriculum. Working with mothers in recovery, I have seen that many are unaware of the effects of prenatal exposure and chaotic home environments on their children's development, and have no clear understanding on how to help their children. The goal of…