There are many risks associated with addictive behavior, but few are more emotive than the risks posed to children. Few parents intentionally hurt or neglect their own children, yet addictive behaviors such as drinking and drug use can lead to this. When the parents' priorities revolve around the addictive behavior or substance, the welfare of children can take a lower priority, leading to serious cases of neglect.
Take, for example, a recent case where a Dad left his two small children, aged four months old and two years old, locked inside a minivan for hours in the sweltering heat, while he drank in a nearby saloon. Fortunately, the children were discovered by a passer-by, who alerted the police, allowing the children to be rushed to hospital, where they have been treated for dehydration.
Many children are not so lucky, and suffer all manner of neglect and abuse while in the care of parents who are not able to focus fully on their responsibiliites. These children need help and support, and often have no means of providing for their own needs. They also risk the cycle of addiction repeating in their own lives and with their own children.
But this sorry situation is not inevitable. If you are a parent who is unable to provide your child with the care and attention they need, I urge you to seek help. And if you are a child whose parent is not taking proper care of you, or if you know of a child in this situation, help is available.
In an emergency, call 911.