Children who grow up with alcoholic parents face a greater risk of having abusive or violent relationships as teenagers, a study has shown.
Researchers found having these experiences early had a negative impact – especially during the critical preschool years and middle childhood.
The findings of the US study were released after looking at adolescents who all had a father with a drinking disorder.
It was also found that there is more marital conflict in a home with alcoholics.
Additionally, mothers whose partners had alcohol use disorders tended to be more depressed, which led to them showing less affection to their children.
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These conditions interfere with a child’s ability to regulate their emotions and behavior.
‘Although teen dating violence is typically viewed as a problem related specifically to adolescent development, our findings indicate that the risk for aggressive behaviour and involvement in dating violence are related to stressors experienced much earlier in life,’ said lead study author Dr Jennifer Livingston from the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions in New York.
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‘It appears that family dynamics occurring in the preschool years and in middle childhood are critical in the development of aggression and dating violence in the teenage years.