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Alateen Books for Children of Alcoholics

Updated on February 19, 2018
DeborahDian profile image

Deborah has been a member of Al-Anon, an organization for the friends and family of alcoholics and addicts, for over 37 years.

Alateen Books Can Help Your Children Cope with Alcoholism in the Family

Children are often confused about the effects of alcohol and drugs on their parents.  It can be very upsetting for them.
Children are often confused about the effects of alcohol and drugs on their parents. It can be very upsetting for them. | Source

Children of Alcoholics Often Find Help at Alateen

Many adults are hurt, confused and frustrated by the alcoholics and drug abusers in their lives. Since this is true of adults, it is not surprising that children suffer even more from the impact of having an alcoholic or addicted parent. Alateen is an organization which has been created in order to help children have a better understanding of what is going in their family, so they are more capable of coping with the inevitable periods of chaos.

I grew up in a family where heavy drinking was common, and I wish I had been able to go to an Alateen meeting, just so I would have known there were other children who were experiencing some of the same types of events in their lives.

If I had also been able to learn a few techniques for dealing with the problems, it may have enabled me to avoid some of the anger and resentments I feld for years after I became an adult. It is my sincere hope that today's children of alcoholics are able to get the help they need and deserve.

One way to help young people who are being raised by an alcoholic parent is to take them to a meeting of Alateen. Another way is to make sure they have some Alateen books to read. Ideally, you should do both, if you want to help them.

Since I became an adult, I have been able to go to Alanon, for the adult friends and family members of alcoholics and drug addicts, and learn more about how the heavy drinking in my family affected me while I was growing up. One of the most important things I have learned is what is often referred to as the "Three C's." They are:

You didn't cause it;

You can't control it;

You can't cure it.

The "it" they are referring to, of course, is the alcoholism or drug addiction that is taking place in your family. Many children, in particular, will blame themselves for their parent's behavior. In addition, they may try to control what is happening. They may try to be extra well-behaved so their parent won't drink; they may beg their parent to stay home tonight; they may even try to hide or throw away any drugs or alcohol they find in the home. Of course, none of these actions ever seem to make a difference, which frustrates the child even more.

If you know of a child in a situation like this, you may want to take them to some Alateen meetings and buy them a few Alateen books to help them understand what is happening. While most of the literature has been written for teenagers, some of the available books have been written for children who are quite young and still in the early years of elementary school. Some Alateen groups also have meetings for children who are not actually teenagers, yet.

Even if your child is uncomfortable about going to meetings, they may find it helpful to read one or more of these books.

A Book Can Help Your Child Understand They are Not Alone

Alateen: Hope for Children of Alcoholics
Alateen: Hope for Children of Alcoholics
Our children and grandchildren, like millions of other children of alcoholics, believed they were suffering alone and no one else had a family with as many problems as theirs. This book, along with attending meetings of Alateen, helped our children understand the basic Alateen program. More importantly, it helped them realize they were not alone and there were things they could do which would make life better for them, whether their parents continued to drink or not.

Alateen Books Can Bring Your Child Comfort and Support

When I meet adults who grew up in homes with alcoholic parents, many of them have no idea that their parents acted strange and unloving because they were alcoholics. Sometimes they thought their parents hated them.

On the other hand, there are children who know that they should avoid their parents whenever they have been drinking, especially if they want to avoid being hit or yelled at.

The books featured here are for a variety of age groups, but they are not the only books which are available. There are many other books available at meetings, in some bookstores and on Amazon.

Help for Children Who are Confused about their Alcoholic Family

For Teenagers Living with a Parent Who Abuses Alcohol/Drugs
For Teenagers Living with a Parent Who Abuses Alcohol/Drugs
Having an alcoholic or addicted parent can cause children to be depressed, do poorly in school, and suffer a wide variety of psychological problems. I know. We have seen this in our own family. This book is a well-written explanation of what is going on in the alcoholic family. It brought comfort to children in our own family who were confused and did not understand why one of their parents was acting so erratically and seemed so irritable. While no book can solve all the problems in a family with alcoholism or addiction, it can help children understand what is going on.

What is Alateen?

Alateen is a subsidiary of Alanon, an organization for the family and friends of people with alcohol and drug abuse problems. Alateen meetings are required to be led and sponsored by an Alanon member, and usually two. The Alanon members who lead the Alateen meetings are expected to have at least one year in Alanon and have passed background checks. Often, they grew up in alcoholic homes themselves.

In the meetings, the Alanon members will help the teens and pre-teens discuss the alcoholism in their families. The kids will share their hopes, fears and worries with each other, and the leaders will help guide the discussion, using approved Alateen literature.

Alateen costs very little. Usually the group asks for just a donation of a dollar or two, which is used to cover the cost of any rent, refreshments or literature. In addition, it is usually suggested that the kids purchase one or two Alateen books, such as the ones mentioned in this article. Other than that, there is no cost to either the parent or the child.

Younger Children are Welcome at Special Alateen Meetings, Too

You do not have to be a teenager in order to belong to Alateen. The book below will help parents and Alateen leaders discuss alcoholism with younger children. Many of them are overwhelmed by the chaos and fighting in their family, and need help so they do not grow up full of resentment and anger.

Reading a book will not solve all the problems in an alcoholic family, but it is a good place to start.

There are Alateen Books for Young Children as Well as Teens

An Elephant In the Living Room The Children's Book
An Elephant In the Living Room The Children's Book
The "Elephant in the Living Room" refers to the alcohol problem that no one wants to talk about, but everyone knows is there. Since very children do not understand what is going on or why their parent seems angry or withdrawn, our family found it very helpful to give them this book or read it to them. We also took the children to Alateen meetings, where they could meet other kids going through the same thing and learn how to cope a little better.

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