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How exposure to parental substance abuse harms children

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2024 | Family Law News

Custody disputes can quickly become heated. Each parent thinks they know what’s best for their children, and disagreements over issues ranging from discipline to religious upbringing and educational opportunities can cause an extensive amount of friction. While these issues can be glaringly apparent, in some circumstances the other parent tries to hide issues from you. This is often the case with parental substance abuse.

The impact of a child’s exposure to parental substance abuse

If your children’s other parent is engaging in substance abuse, then they’re probably trying to keep it a secret from you because they know that it’s harmful to your children. In fact, children who are exposed to parental substance abuse can experience any of the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Social isolation
  • An increased risk of abuse and neglect
  • Low-self-esteem
  • Trouble developing trust-based relationships
  • Poor school performance
  • Increased risk-taking behaviors
  • Mimicking of the parent’s substance use
  • Developmental delays

As you can see, there’s a wide array of harm that can be caused to your children when they’re exposed to parental substance abuse, which is why now is the time to act to bring it to a stop.

How to protect your children from parental substance abuse

The best way to protect your children from an unsafe parent is to seek a custody modification. To succeed here, though, you’ll need evidence that shows that the other parent has a substance use issue, and that the issue puts your children at risk. Remember, the court will deploy a best interests standard, so think through how you can present legal arguments that address the court’s considerations.

We know that it can be stressful to navigate a child custody dispute, but you might take comfort in building the aggressive legal arguments necessary to adequately present your case and protect your interests. So, do everything in your power to gather compelling evidence and craft persuasive arguments. Hopefully then you’ll be able to give your children the safe environment they deserve.