Could This Be Your Child…
Stories Straight from the Mouths of Children
This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.
Few books convey a more important message than Could This Be Your Child? by Marianne Jones. She has dedicated herself to the unenviable, but courageous, task of seeking and sharing “true stories from children of addicted parents,” which is the subtitle of her book. Her purpose is not unlike a journalistic exposé that reveals the ugly, but honest, truth about how the alcohol and drug addictions of parents affect their children’s lives.
She doesn’t do it with another panel of experts, but by providing children who have lived—and, in some cases, are still living—the nightmarish existence that their parents’ addictions have created in their homes with an opportunity to speak for themselves. These are more than dysfunctional families; the entire structure of emotional, practical and financial support has often entirely collapsed, leaving these children unable to cope with their lives, even as they find themselves having to care for their parents.
The 13 stories presented in Could This Be Your Child? are in these children’s words, not the author’s or a child-abuse expert’s interpretation. Although these children have suffered, and continue to suffer, greatly, at least they have been able to step from the cone of silence enveloping their families and lives to tell their stories, which is often the first positive sign they can escape the abuse and live positive, fulfilling lives.
Their stories will make you sad, even cry, as well as angry and, quite possibly, ashamed that similar stories of which you are unaware are occurring in your neighborhood. Alcohol and street drugs are often the culprits, but it can be more complicated, as some parents become addicted to painkillers, for example, that were legitimately prescribed because of an injury or illness.
Regardless of the source of the parents’ addictions, the results are generally worse for the children. Some of them are abandoned, even raped, but all are affected in fundamental ways, as mortgages, rents and utility bills are unpaid and there is no money for food, or there is inadequate food at best. Children’s grades suffer, and teachers don’t understand the turmoil in their families’ lives, which could deny many of these children, who are otherwise bright and gifted, from becoming our future leaders.
A few of these stories are from adults who either became addicts because one or more of their parents were or have finally come to the realization of how much damage they did to their children.
Ms. Jones’ book doesn’t just expose readers to the “wounds” of these children but also includes a number of chapters with helpful information, such as an interview with a former Los Angeles Police Department detective who often investigated these situations and a thorough explanation of how drugs and alcohol affect the brain. There are also a number of poems and inspirational quotes that could serve as signposts to help adults and families find their way back to normalcy. Ms. Jones’ masterful job in Could This Be Your Child? makes it a practical guide for addicted parents, their children, extended family members, neighbors and friends, teachers and clergy, and anyone in a position to help families avoid this problem, or overcome it.