Sharing custody of your child can be stressful, especially when you don’t have strong communication with the other parent. You might worry about what goes on at the other parent’s house, and how that home environment affects your child’s safety and well-being. Domestic violence, abuse and neglect, and exposure to parental substance abuse are all real possibilities. This week on the blog, we want to look at the last one: exposure to parental drug and alcohol abuse.
How parental substance abuse harms children
Substance abuse is more prevalent in our society than many people realize, and the impact it can have on your child can be tremendous. Such exposure can lead to any of the following;
- Increased risk of abuse and neglect.
- Feelings of guilt.
- The onset of shame.
- The development of anxiety and depression.
- Behavioral issues.
- Poor school performance.
- Social isolation.
These issues can build upon one another, too, magnifying the impact of exposure to parental substance abuse. That’s why you need to act now to protect your child if you think they’re being exposed to drug or alcohol abuse.
What should you do if you suspect exposure to parental substance abuse?
Your best option is to seek a custody modification that reduces or eliminates the other parent’s time with your child. To succeed on one of these motions, though, you’ll need evidence to show that what you claim is true. Therefore, before filing your motion, you should gather witness statements, communications with the other parent, criminal records, police reports, and anything else that might show that drug or alcohol abuse is occurring in your child’s presence.
Although you might feel uncomfortable taking an aggressive line in your child custody case, keep in mind that you’re advocating for your child’s best interests. Additionally, this isn’t something that you have to manage on your own. With an understanding of the law and support on your side, you can put up the fight needed to adequately protect your child.