The disease of addiction may leave many a child lacking even their basic needs. Children may experience emotional and behavioral problems, chronic anxiety and depression, self-cutting and self-medicating behaviors, a higher risk of emotional, physical or sexual abuse, low self-esteem, poor school performance, and a greater chance of becoming addicted themselves. This list multiplies as the child becomes an adult. The immediate and life-long consequences of exposure to addiction are vast and shattering — and may last a lifetime. Positive experiences and relationships are often a lifeline for the children. A connection may come through a neighbor, a mentor from church, a school counselor, a therapist, a coach, or an after-school program caregiver, and groups like Alateen may provide critical peer relationships. Interactions with caring adults are opportunities for support and kindness. Seeking professional counseling by the non-addicted parent can assist the family in maximizing strengths and communication, encourage the children to have a voice, share feelings, and make solid plans for their safety.