Support Systems for Kids with Addicted Parents

girl sitting in ball crying

Blog Contributed by Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC for Addiction Hope

Addictions often impact the people we love most, and those who are closest to us may suffer greatly as the result of an addiction. For individuals who have children, they may find it especially difficult to connect and reach out to their sons or daughters while engaged in the destructive behaviors of an addiction.

Children may suffer neglect, abandonment, or mistreatment in the instance that their parents are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Some children may also be separated from their parents for a period of time during the process of rehabilitation and treatment.

Whatever the situation is, it is important that children continue to be loved, supported, and encouraged during a time that can be fragile and uncertain for them. Especially when children may feel emotionally vulnerable, it is essential that they are connected to a support system that can help them through the crisis of addiction.

Helpful Options for Supporting Children When You Can’t

Thankfully, many support systems exist that can help children who have addicted parents. Whether you are seeking support for your own children as you recover from an addiction or you are hoping to help children that you care for connect to a support system, be aware of these helpful options:

Big Brothers/Big Sisters:

This organization pairs children who are coping with parental difficulties with a mentor (“Big Brother” or “Big Sister”), who works with a child individually to establish a loving, positive, relationship. Mentors often offer emotional support for a child and engage them in activities that can empower them to succeed in their own lives.

Boys Hope Girls Hope:

This non-profit organization helps “underprivileged adolescents find the environment they need to discover their full potential [1]”. Children who may be living in stressful environments or who have lacking support systems can find structured, family-style residences within Boys Hope Girls Hope.

This organization includes live-in residential counselors who offering academic tutoring. Children are supported physically, emotionally, and academically.

Confident Kids Support Groups:

This Bible based support group program offers a “life skills curriculum” that assists families with children ages 4-12 years old. The curriculum consists of small group discussions, games, and a variety of other techniques that helps give children a safe place to talk about their experiences.

Parents are also supported through this organization, and both parents and children are taught skills to cope with difficult circumstances.

Research Your Options

Many more options exist to help support children through a parental addiction, and it is encouraging to know that there are places for children to find encouragement during this difficult time.

If you are seeking more information for your children, talk to your treatment team or case manager to find out what options may be available to help support your children as you focus on recovery.


  1. Boys Hope Girls Hope

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What has been your experience with finding support for children of addicted parents? Have you discovered avenues of support or support groups that you have found to be helpful?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on December 5th, 2014
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