Parents Drinking More When Kids Go Back to School

Sober parents and children on beach

Are you drinking more now that the kids are back in school?

It’s that time of year again… as summer is winding down, kids are getting ready to go back to school. Some parents have been anxiously awaiting the first day of school, looking forward to having a little more kid-free time to accomplish necessary tasks (and maybe even to sneak in a brief moment of rest!). But back to school time can also be a stressful experience for parents for a variety of reasons.

First of all, it’s a time of transition, when the daily routine is changing. For parents who stay home to care for their children, the days may suddenly feel empty or boring when the kids are gone for most of the day. While you were used to being constantly busy all summer long, you may now find yourself with some downtime and feel uncertain about how to fill it.

Additionally, this time of year can be stressful because it means juggling a lot of different responsibilities and schedules. Now, you need to manage school pickup and drop off times, extracurricular activities, carpools, and making sure that the kids do their homework… all in addition to taking care of your own personal needs and obligations. For parents who work outside of the home, this can be even more challenging as they struggle to manage the pressures of their job while also taking care of the home and children. Finding a way to fulfill all of these responsibilities can feel overwhelming…. especially in today’s society where parents often feel pressured to do it all (and to make it all look as perfect as it does on Pinterest!).

Back to school time can also mean having increased worries about your children. You want to ensure that they are getting good grades, making friends, and staying out of trouble. You can’t keep tabs on them all day, so you may worry about how they are doing.

For all of these reasons, parents may feel increasingly stressed and anxious during this time of year. Some may find themselves looking for a way to deal with those feelings, and may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope. Parents who already struggled with substance use may start drinking more now that the kids are not home during the day.

While drinking/using substances can provide temporary relief from stress, the long term effects can be very harmful. If you notice that you are drinking or using other substances more frequently or in larger amounts, or you have other concerns about your substance use, you may want to seek help. The team at Practical Recovery can provide a safe, non-judgmental space in which you can discuss your concerns with a professional.

Do you think you might need help? Learn more about our services.