Children of drug and alcohol dependent parents take place in category of multiple endangered children. Growing up within the family where one or both parents are addicts, child put’s up with all kind of abusing, neglecting, maltreatment; suffers from lack of parental advisory, protection, love, care, authority, role model, motivation and support. Also, they grow up in a negative family surrounding exposed to different kind of risky factors, from existential, material and physical deprivation, inappropriate health care, inadequate parenting stile to exposure to family violence, crime and criminal activities. Children raised in such an environment are more likely to develop a number of disorders that manifest themselves through future delinquent, aggressive, violent and inappropriate social behaviour, inability to create and maintain healthy peer and partner relationships, a number of psychological problems – anxiety, depression, lack of adequate functioning in school and work environment and potentially develop a propensity for addictions on various psychoactive drugs or alcohol. Although the declarative, prescribed level of protection provided to children of all their rights and assisting in risk situations through the ratified conventions, laws and documents, and the institutions that implement the same, real-situation is quite different. In fact, statistics show that over the years the number of addicts is increasing, especially in the age group that is considered reproductive age. It is possible to assume, considering the dark figure, that in Croatia there are more than 197.000 children of addicted parents, about whose lives and fates the recent literature says hardly anything. Internet search through articles on the topic of children of addicted parents can only conclude that all laws, conventions and documents of the institution and the legal and judicial system failed to protect and care provided to this group of children. The situation is such that children are in the best situation left to the care of relatives, institutions and foster families, although unfortunately there are a lot of examples where children continue to live with an addicted parent. The aim and purpose of this paper is to highlight this growing social problem and to emphasize and prove clash between declarative and real situations in which there are children of addicts, and stressed the importance of prevention and assistance to children in this group.
Keywords: addicted parents, children of parents of addicts, social blindness to the problems of children, the relationship between parents of addicts and children.
Ph.D. Jasminka Zloković