Children who grow up in homes where drugs and alcohol use are common are much more likely to indulge in substance abuse as they become adults, but that does not mean the cycle can not be interrupted. There may be several contributing factors in the lives of a child. Genetic predisposition to substance abuse and addiction involves the genes, and this genetic component causes many whose family members engage in drugs and alcohol abuse to follow the same pattern. The environmental factor also has to be evaluated. When kids see their role models using drugs or drinking alcohol then the children may try to emulate this behavior. Children learn what they live and experience, and many who grow up in homes where substance abuse is common will follow the same behaviors that they observed while growing up.
Children who live with parental substance abuse are often traumatized, and frequently these kids are placed in the role of the grown up adult in the home. Drugs and alcohol use by a parent may mean that normal daily activities like cleaning the home, preparing meals, and even washing clothes and taking care of small children are all less important than abusing drugs and alcohol. The child ends up taking on the adult responsibilities, and in many cases must become the parent to the person with substance abuse issues. A normal childhood in this situation is not possible, and the trauma and adult burdens that children in these homes face can be incredible.