We all love our children – we all want the best for them, but there are just sometimes when our wants and needs override what is best for our kids. Who would think that going out on the booze/around the town/having a joint…or a bit of “P” would have that much effect on our children? But let me ask, the more preoccupied we get with ourselves… who are the ones that suffer?

Our lives these days are busy, complex and a juggling feat beyond comparison to older generations. Add to that mix habit forming recreational substances and the picture can start to look grim. This isn’t a call to judgement but rather an alertbulletin to what can happen to the child. And in case you were wondering here are a few issues that may present…..

Attachment Issues. Once there is a dependence for recreational substances children start to learn that their parent/s can become hot or cold in their treatment towards them. One moment a loving mother, the next critical and unloving. These children then begin to wonder if they are lovable or worthy of attention. The child becomes ambivalent and is taught the world of relationships is unreliable. Or they may go down the path of avoidant attachment where the child is in conflict over the need for her mother’s love or protection against the emotional or physical abuse they may receive. The big problem with attachment issues of course, is it carries through into adulthood, and what they are used to receiving as a child they will look for as adults.

Lack of Trust – If children learn unreliability in their relationships this will spill over into their friendships and later on romantic lives. As adults there are three avenues they will go down. The first I am Unacceptable – the child becomes afraid that people will reject, discard, ridicule, hurt, or use them. They learn that it is safer to keep it all inside: their true emotions, thoughts, needs, wants, and preferences.

The second avenue, I Trust too easily – Here the child becomes so desperate to be accepted, that the moment anyone shows interest in them, they inappropriately open up to others, often within the first few times of meeting. They tend to overshare, or expect the other person to immediately care about them very deeply

The third avenue, I have to do everything myself – As the child matures, she learns only to trust herself. She may become a fixer, someone who is attracted to broken people who they cannot fix but it doesn’t stop them from trying. Or she may become so fiercely independent she comes off cold, hard, and unapproachable.

Hyperactivity. When a child craves attention, he is going to go about getting it in any way he can, good or bad. It may not be recreational substances causing distraction and preoccupation by the parent, just a case of too busy to be noticing. So that over the top behaviour may be worthy of a second glance.

Lack of Confidence. These children have grown up often feeling ignored, criticised and unheard. A child lacking in confidence may present as having low esteem, not feeling they are good enough and are hesitant to try new things. They may become passive and withdrawn.

Distrust of Authority. Children who have been raised with parents who use methamphetamine often carry a strong distrust of authority figures, passed on from their parents as a result of the criminal activity involved.

Behavioural Issues. A lot of kids have trouble learning in school and fall behind. A lot of the times this is caused by behavioural problems interfering with the learning, which may be caused by a combination of exposure to drugs and their home environment

It is important that meth taking parents recognise that there is an impact on their children and that it can affect the quality of their parenting and relationship with their children, and also affect their child’s wellbeing both short term and long term. A simple example of how this could happen would be the exposure to the increased conflict that occurs in these homes.

Drug use does not mean drug dependence. In writing this I have deliberately not covered the deep impact on children/including unborn by parents who are addicted, or those children who have been displaced and separated from their parents because of their drug habit. Sadly, Meths is by far the most popular drug in society at the moment and that makes a lot of children potentially being affected.

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