COVID-19, Quarantine, Parents, Alcohol Use—and Children

Last Updated on February 24, 2021

parents children COVID-19
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In August 2020, a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation1 noted the stress levels of parents in the US due to COVID-19. As time goes on, parents and their children—and mothers, in particular—have been suffering more stress.

What the article doesn’t mention is that many of these stressed-out parents are using alcohol to cope—in fact, the word “alcohol” doesn’t even appear in the piece, well-researched and written as it is. But it is increasingly clear that many parents are using alcohol to cope. In this article, we’ll explore some of the effects of the pandemic on parents and their families.

Stress Levels Are Through the Roof

After the Kaiser article, The Washington Post2 picked up the ball. When parents work at home, often their kids are there, too—without the supervision that school usually provides. Nicky C., a woman in Santa Clarita, California, has three young children. Her husband works as a plumber, outside their home. She’s been noticing an uptick in her drinking. “It feels very alone. Is it this hard for everybody? I feel like I’m not a good mom because I can’t juggle all of it well.”

Between politics and COVID-19, for most people, 2020 was the most stressful year in decades. Aside from the very real worry about getting the virus itself, people had to navigate the worry of maintaining day-to-day existence. This anxiety is perhaps worse for parents and children. Many began working from home. But with schools also closed, families were forced to change daily routines to include educational efforts. “Mommy wine culture” didn’t exactly help, either.

Some Children Face Greater Hurdles

Parents of children with say, ADHD, face an even greater hurdle. It’s fair to say that most parents have child-related stress under the best of circumstances. When you add in the additional challenges of a child with a learning disability3—faced by millions—and then throw in a pandemic, it’s no wonder that many people are seeking solace in alcohol.

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One of Nicky C.’s kids suffers from attention deficit disorder (ADD): “It’s a struggle to get him to learn anything, and I try to make it fun, we write letters in Play-Doh and the whiteboard, but it’s just a constant struggle. I have a strong feeling he’s going to have to repeat kindergarten.”

Being a Model for Your Kids

In May 2020, two months into quarantine, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation in Australia published an article4 on the challenges parents and children face. These include “pressures of adjusting to disrupted routines, managing increased stress and boredom, and making sure schooling doesn’t fall behind.”

The author suggests taking a hard look at the language people may be using casually, e.g., talking about “wine o’clock” or “I need a drink.” The article also encourages talking candidly with kids about alcohol. And it’s important to provide a comfortable environment so they can be open about their feelings, especially when they’re “angry, sad, or scared.”

family parents children
Photo by Sandy Millar for unsplash

Our Team Can Help You Deal with the Stress

At Ria, our team is experienced in working with all sorts of people, including parents. (Our CEO is a parent, and knows the challenges of getting that work/life balance right first-hand.) We also understand that lately your house may be a little noisier—and that daily life can feel a little more frantic than it used to be.

The good news is: Our alcohol treatment method is done at home (or wherever you like). You don’t have to worry about leaving the kids, your spouse, or your job. And now, with coverage offered by some of the country’s largest insurance companies, our program can be more affordable than ever.

Get in touch with a member of our team today, or learn more about how it works.

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