What Children Believe
"My daddy is an alcoholic. Please send me some information so I can understand why he drinks and how I can help him stop." This poignant letter from a seven-year-old gril vividly portrays the major tragedy of family alcoholism. Like millions of others, this confused child believes she can keep her dad from drinking too much. She has no idea that alcoholism is a disease which she did not cause, and cannot control or cure. Like so many, this child thinks if she can find the magic formula, daddy's alcohol abuse will stop.
Clinicians agree that children of alcoholics usually feel guilty and responsible for their parent's alcoholism. The professional and popular literature is filled with testimony from youngsters and adults who believe they made their parents drink. In developing its alcohol education and prevention program on family alcoholism for youngsters, the Children of Alcoholism Foundation conducted a large scale study to find out what children think, and to see what information should be included in the Foundation's educational programs.
In 1983, the Foundation launched a massive effort to educate the general public, professionals, and children of alcoholics about the intergenerational …