Temperament of Children in Alcoholic Families


There are many factors that destabilize family relationships, and one of the most devastating problems is the alcohol addiction of one or both parents. Previously, alcoholism was considered as an individual’s problem, with particular attention to the mental processes of alcohol addicts and a change in their personality. Currently, increasingly more studies are turning to interaction with a close environment, especially with a family. The purpose of this paper is to summarize a peer-reviewed research article and a popular media article and then to compare and contrast their contents.

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Behavioral Problems and Temperamental Characteristics

among Children in Alcoholic Families

The introduction of the article from the Journal of Mental Health and Human Behaviour states that alcoholism destroys families and negatively affects children, causing them social, emotional, and behavioral problems. Parental alcoholism is the reason for children’s depression, aggression, and stress. It suggests that parental addiction affects children’s temperament and behavioral issues. Previous studies showed that certain deviations in temperament in childhood could increase the risk of alcoholism in adulthood; thus, some signs could identify it (Ravindran, Hima, Natarajan, & Sathianathan, 2018). The purpose of the research was to compare the degrees of externalizing and internalizing behavior, children’s aggression, and temperamental challenges in children from ordinary and alcoholic families.

Sixty children from alcoholic and non-alcoholic families were selected to conduct the described study. Various graphs, a scale of points, questionnaires, and surveys by parameters were used to evaluate the temperament and severity of the problems. The obtained data were analyzed after the research, and the degree of aggression, behavioral problems, stress, and depression was revealed. All parameters were compared between the main group and the control group. The results showed that children from drinking families received the highest scores on the scale of aggression and hostility. Scores on the externalizing scale were significantly high, and a marginal high score was on the internalizing scale (Ravindran et al., 2018). Temperamental difficulties and significant problems with adaptation, attention, and communication were also identified.

Challenges Facing the Children of Alcoholics

The article by T. Buddy (2018) raises the problem of alcoholism in American families, and also describes the challenges faced by children of drinking parents. In the United States, millions of children live with at least one parent who is addicted to alcohol or drugs. It entails cognitive, emotional, and behavioral problems, and may cause addiction in the future. The researches show that children from drinking families have serious challenges. However, a certain percentage of children are resistant to the impact of their parents and can avoid psychological and social problems.

The article discusses the numerous parameters by which children from drinking families lag behind ordinary children. So, data from studies of cognitive abilities show that school performance and IQ are lower but within the normal range. Children in alcoholic families also face underestimation of abilities, low self-esteem, and lack of motivation. Also, they experience problems communicating with classmates and teachers, increased anxiety, depression, aggression, and absenteeism (Buddy, 2018). It should be noted that there is a percentage of children who are not affected by parental addiction. They manage to cope with psychological pressure, build healthy relationships, and avoid alcoholism in the future.

Comparison and Contrast

Two mentioned articles discuss the problem of the parental impact on children in alcoholic families. All functions are violated in families with drinking parents: reproductive, economic, cultural, educational, emotional, and psychological. The requirements of parents are not based on stable life views; they are inconsistent about emotional and behavioral manifestations (Park & Schepp, 2015). As a result, children have many psychological problems, cannot get along with their peers, and their skills in socializing are poor. Researches claim that people who see an example of harmful behavior are more prone to alcoholism in adulthood due to genetic and psychological reasons. They say that certain deviations in a child’s temperament can increase the risk of developing an addiction in adulthood.

The first article is divided into sections – introduction, materials and methods, results, and discussion. There are scientific data, tables, and graphs, reflecting the research, and many references to previous studies. This article is peer-reviewed and approved by experts in this field of science. All data in it is verified, information cannot be interpreted incorrectly. It provides accurate statistics that allow making unambiguous conclusions about the negative impact of parental alcoholism on the temperament and development of children (Ravindran et al., 2018). At the same time, in the second article from an online source, information is also structured into sections, but written in a more informal language. The research data presented in the article by T. Buddy (2018) show that the negative experiences of children do not always determine their future. It is hard to draw a simple conclusion about how much parental alcoholism affects the temperament and psychology of children. Thus, it is always necessary to refer to several sources to get a full picture of the problem and formulate a conclusion.

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A family is the most crucial factor affecting the process of socialization and development of any child. Genetic information and upbringing determine how a person grows up. Any human at a young age is very vulnerable; therefore, children are easily exposed to the environment in which they grew up. A destructive effect is exerted on children in alcoholic families, and it interferes not only with the formation of personality but contributes to the emergence of alcoholism in adulthood. The family atmosphere influences the socialization and development of children, but it does not always determine the future of a child.


Buddy, T. (2018). Being an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. Web.

Park, S., & Schepp, K. G. (2015). A systematic review of research on children of alcoholics: Their inherent resilience and vulnerability. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24(5), 1222-1231.

Ravindran, O. S., Hima, K., Natarajan, S., & Sathianathan, R. (2018). Behavioral problems and temperamental characteristics among children in alcoholic families. Journal of Mental Health and Human Behaviour, 23(1), 52-56.

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