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The parental drug use and substance abuse results in serious consequences on the development of the child. The prenatal effects of drug usage and substance abuse occur during the fetal development in the mother’s womb. After the birth, the living environment of drug-depended parent influences the child’s growth, health, education, and development up to the adulthood. When a parent is an alcohol or drug addict, children are exposed to great risk of neglect, violence, malnourishment, and even financial crisis. This paper focuses on the effects of parental drug use and substance abuse on the child’s development.
The prenatal drug use and substance abuse are widely discouraged because they can influence a child’s psychological development. When a woman is pregnant, she is encouraged to live a healthy life, eat nutritious food, exercise frequently, and get enough rest. Drug use and substance abuse are dangerous because they can harm mothers’ ability to care for the pregnancy and can also undermine a child’s prenatal development. Drug usage increases chances of miscarriage, birth underweight, body defects, slower growth, and even heart problems. Therefore, it is highly important that pregnant women avoid usage of drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, and anything else that might hurt her or the unborn baby.
According to Small, “We have known for a long time that drinking heavily during pregnancy could lead to major impairments in growth, behavior, and cognitive function in children.” In this regard, when an expectant woman drinks the alcohol, so does the baby. Alcohol can result in serious long-lasting harmful effects to the unborn child. The child can portray fetal alcohol disorders including underweight, physical defects, and a slow growth rate. The alcohol could also influence the brains Intelligent Quotient, affecting the child’s creativity and knowledge in the future. Therefore, both expectant and breastfeeding mothers should refrain from alcohol because it can be passed to the child through milk.
The development of the child is undermined by the hazardous effects caused by tobacco smoking. Prenatal smoking increases the risk of premature labor and miscarriage. According to the statistics of Baby Center Newsletter, “This risk is four times higher if you smoke between 1 and 9 cigarettes a day during pregnancy, rising to eight times higher if you smoke 20 cigarettes or more daily” (Baby Center, 2018). The nicotine usage weakens mothers’ appetite at a critical time when she should be attaining more weight. Tobacco smoking afflicts lungs from absorbing oxygen, depriving the baby of enough oxygen, sustenance, and nourishment. Therefore, the main consequence of prenatal smoking is child’s underweight or smaller babies, which increases the likelihood of infants’ disability and illness.
According to Dr. Gruer, “From birth onwards, the parents’ drug problems can endanger children’s health in many ways and cause a great deal of emotional and psychological damage that often goes unnoticed” (Gruer, 2005). The parental substance abuse and drug use influence the entire life of the child including the school life and the behavioral problems. Some children experience neglect, lack of essential things and support due to their parents’ body and mind state, as a result of drugs. The substance abuse and drug use affect action and speaking behavior of parents, which might be cruel, ruthless, and hurtful resulting to an unsocial child-parent relationship. Therefore, these uncertainties can upset the young life of the child, affecting their behavior and school life.
The drug use and substance abuse increase parents’ conflict with the law, poor school and work performance, and troublesome relationships. On this regard, children are frequently exposed to great abuse, violence, and rage. Observing domestic violence and living in the disorderly homes because of drugs, is a great emotional wrongdoing to the child. As an outcome, children of substance and drug users highly portray feelings of rejection, anger, hurt, and shame. Therefore, it is highly important to listen to silent children who are suffering because of the drug problems of their parents.
In violent occurrences, the child frequently experiences great embarrassment and guilty feelings. Children might acknowledge themselves as the root cause of their parents’ drug usage, being fearful for their parents’ health and marriage stability. The drug use and substance abuse also increase the risk of parents’ health, especially in damaging main organs, causing cancer, and even death. This results in constant worries among the children as they fear for their parents’ welfare. Therefore, parental drug use increases the rate of depression to the children.
In conclusion, the parental drug use and substance abuse results to serious consequences on the child development from mothers’ pregnancy to child’s adulthood. The prenatal consequences on the child development because of drug usage include underweight, slow growth rate, physical defects, and even low IQ. The afterbirth impacts on child development include inadequate parental support and psychological problems. Through education on dangers of drugs, children are encouraged not to follow the drug habits of their parents. However, the government should offer more support services to children experiencing difficulties in chaotic families.

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The parental drug use and substance abuse results in serious consequences on the development of the child. (2019, Apr 08). Retrieved January 22, 2021, from https://midwestcri.org/the-parental-drug-use-and-substance-abuse-results-in-serious-consequences-on-the-development-of-the-child/

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