Is It A Sin To Disobey Your (Alcoholic) Parents?
Copyright 2008 Heaven Ministries - Angie Lewis


Scripture lets us know that children should obey and honor their parents. I believe that this command extends to even after the children have left home and have families of their own. Of course most parents are not going to be laying down rules for their adult children to follow because the care-giving stage of parenting is gone. But all children, even adult children should honor and respect their parents, even when they have moved out and have made a life of their own. If there is difficulties within a relationship with a parent or child then it is appropriate and ethically right to restore that relationship. 

Unresolved issues in parent-child relationships are a direct correlation of how your relationship is with God. Why are you unable to forgive, why are you unable to communicate properly, why are you holding in resentment, why continue treating your family with contempt and contention? A parent may have treated you wrongly as a child, but if they are sorrowful for the way they treated you, it is your responsibility to mend the relationship - it is what God wants you to do, even if they aren't sorrowful for the way they treated you.

Most parents love their children and only want what is best for them. And children should obey and honor their parents, but what if the parent is an alcoholic, drug addict, or has anger or mental problems? Or what if the parent is using scripture incorrectly to control their children with? Even if all these things are correct, children still need to honor and respect their parents. We are to help them overcome their afflictions if we can.

If you live at home with a parent who is afflicted with troubles such as above, talk to an older sibling or another parent about the difficulty you are having with obeying them. Some parents can be abusive and if that is the case, then you must find solace with someone who understands what you are going through. Never take your problems to strangers or to school with you - that will cause more problems for your family and personal life. 

Sometimes teenagers will need to detach from an alcoholic or drug addicted parent. Learn what you can about alcoholism an other forms of addiction and see if there are Alateen meetings in your area. Ask someone you can trust to take you a couple times a week. When you are at living at home, sometimes you may need to leave the room, put your headphones on high and listen to music to focus out the abusive alcoholic. Let your alcoholic parent know that you love them, but you will not stand there and take emotional abuse from them. You need to take care of yourself by doing what it takes to not be around the alcoholic if they are abusing you emotionally or physically. 

When your alcoholic parent comes into bouts of sobriety you do need to obey their rules they have set out for you. It may be a good idea for them to write down the boundaries they have for you on paper, so you can stay consistent in obeying them like God wants you to. They may forget what they told you to do last week, and so it is best to have them write down the rules and boundaries for you when they are sober. I know that sounds ridiculous but if you want to do what is right and be a responsible teenager that is what you'll need to do. Love your parent but don't let their behavior or addiction take hold of your life too. 

It takes courage to be a child of an alcoholic - it takes courage because addiction is an insidious disease that can deeply hurt and make life a difficult path for a child living at home with an alcoholic parent. The three most important things for any child to understand about an alcoholic parent is this: 

1.It is not your fault that your mom or dad has a drinking problem - never blame yourself, and always know that God is with you when you seek Him. Pray that your mom or dad gets the healing they need.  

2. Your alcoholic parent loves you, even if they don't always act like it. 

3. Alcoholism is a sickness - God does not make alcoholics - alcoholics choose alcoholism. So then knowing this we know that no matter how evil and wretched alcoholism is, there is hope that one day your parent will choose to come out of its trap. 

Is your parent psychologically or mentally impaired or depressed? Do what you can for them and let them know that you love them, but if they are not making sense or seem to be out of it most of the time, then it may not be a good idea to adhere to what they have to say for you. Your best interests may be in their heart but if their heart is listening to their impaired mind then it may not be what is best for you at the time. Support and encourage a parent who has mental deficiencies and do your own research to see what you can do to help them come to healing and recovery.  Love your parent and try and not let their sickness consume your daily life.

Obeying our parents is almost always what is the right thing to do, even when we think is isn't the right thing to do. For certain situations be discerning and mature about your choices and how you handle them. Above all, children, adult children and teenagers always need to honor and respect their parents. Honoring and respecting parents does not mean we have accepted their problems, but what it means is that we forgiven them for hurting us with their problems. They may have certain difficulties that restrict their parenting but that does not mean we still cannot love them and learn to detach from those difficulties.

"You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised." (Hebrews 10:36)