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Reassuring messages for children

how to help children - reassuaring message for children

Sometimes children blame themselves when there is a problem with alcohol in the family. Sometimes they feel like they are the only ones going through this.

They may also be very confused about dependence and the way their parent behaves when they have been drinking.

Some reassuring messages for children in a family where alcohol is a problem¹

Messages about alcohol dependence and misuse
  • An alcohol problem can be like an illness. If you blame the illness rather than the person, it doesn’t make the problem go away, but it can help you to feel better about it.
  • Family life or stresses do not cause someone to become dependent on alcohol or drugs.
  • Drinking too much makes people do things they normally wouldn’t such as hurting others or disappearing from home.
  • When someone is dependent on alcohol, drinking often becomes their main priority.
  • People can recover. This is very difficult, however, and requires specialised, long-term help.
  • Sometimes people can relapse. Recovery from alcohol is a life-long commitment and requires lots of energy. If someone relapses it doesn’t mean that they have failed or cannot be alcohol free again.


Messages about feelings and coping
  • You are not the cause of this and you cannot be blamed in any way. 
  • You cannot cure the problem or stop it.
  • Many children who have parents with an alcohol problem grow up to be happy, healthy adults.
  • It’s okay for you to hate the problem and love the person at the same time. It’s normal to feel like this, even if it feels confusing.
  • It is important for you to talk to people about how you are feeling – your friends or someone you can trust. Bottling up your feelings can make you very unhappy, stressed or even ill.
  • It is not your job to become like a parent at home. You should be able to enjoy school and a social life with your friends.
  • Other families you know may be experiencing something like this. Lots of other people have similar problems and understand how you feel.
  • Your safety is ALWAYS important. If you are not safe, you need to find help as soon as possible. Call Tusla or the Gardai if you feel threatened.
  • There is lots of professional support available for families who experience problems like this. They understand and can help if we need it.


The National Association for
Children of Alcoholics has
7Cs that young people
should remember:

  1. I didn’t Cause it.
  2. I can’t Cure it.
  3. I can’t Control it.
  4. I can Care for myself.
  5. I can Communicate about my feelings.
  6. I can make healthy Choices.
  7. I can Celebrate myself and be proud of who I am and my own achievements.


     ¹ These messages have been adapted from and reproduced courtesy of TUSLA / Barnados Teenhelp

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