Parents drink too much

By: Bhawani Persaud

Witnessing your parents deal with alcohol addiction is never easy. No matter the age, children will often want to help their parents with their issues. It is also very common for children to wonder if a situation is their fault, and this can feel especially true when a parent says so to their face in a drunken state.

If you are a child in this environment, it’s important to note that it is not your fault, and it is not your responsibility to fix your parents. There are a few ways you can support them, and by doing so, you can have the knowledge and satisfaction that you are doing your best to help (Addiction Center).

Just Be There

When we are struggling with anything, it is very useful to know that there is someone in our corner. Even if this may not be openly appreciated or requested, you can be supportive by letting your parents know you care. You could:

  • Make a meal for them
  • Offer to help around the house
  • Just sit with them and let them know you are there and that you care
  • Share with them about your day, and encourage them to talk to you
  • Try engaging in board games or solving puzzles, etc

However, you know your parents best. Do what you think is best — being there for someone is already helpful. 

Offer Outside Support and Resources

This may not be taken well, but giving your parents access to help can make a huge difference if they choose to accept it. You can do this discreetly by leaving a pamphlet on the table, offering to go with them to appointments, sitting with them while they call helplines or community centres, or making a concrete plan of how they will make changes. This kind of help is difficult, especially if your parent does not acknowledge they have a problem. However, it is essential for them to know there is outside help if they are ready to acknowledge their issue. Remember to take it one step at a time.

 Here is a list of possible resources and supports you could access:

These two strategies can work well for many families and if used together can help your parent overcome their alcohol addiction. It is important to note you should not put yourself in any danger trying to talk to or help your parents; the choice to seek assistance and recovery is their own. It is also natural to not be ready or willing to help them at the moment, as you may be angry or have difficulty coping yourself. A parent struggling with alcoholism takes a big toll on you. Just remember — knowing how to take care of yourself, and doing what feels right, is essential.


Mosel, Stacy. “How To Help An Alcoholic Parent.” American Addiction Centers, Accessed 15 Dec. 2021.

CAMH. “When a Parent Drinks Too Much Alcohol – What Kids Want to Know.” CAMH, Accessed 15 Dec. 2021.