UK: Parents’ Alcohol Use Affects Third of Children
A new study has found that in the UK parents’ alcohol use affects more than a third of all children negatively.
The study examined effects on children of parents who were not dependent on alcohol and found a significant link between the amount of alcohol consumed by parents and increased negative experiences among children who witness them in an intoxicated or tipsy state.
The study was conducted with 997 parents and their children and found, among parents:
- Three-fifths of parents had consumed alcohol to help them cope with feelings of depression and to escape problems.
- 95% spoke of instances where they used alcohol to relax or feel happier.
When it came to effects on children it was reported, parents alcohol use led to:
- Being given less attention than usual,
- Being put to bed earlier or later than their usual time,
- Having arguments with parents more than normal, and
- Being at the receiving end of increased unpredictability.
An Exploration of the Impact of Non-Dependent Parental Alcohol Use on Children
The resources and support available to parents who want to learn more about or address their [alcohol use] are inadequate,” said Eric Appleby, the chair of the Alcohol and Families Alliance, as per The Guardian.
We need evidence-based support for families affected by alcohol and evidence-based guidance on parental and family member [alcohol use] and its effect on children, including at low levels.”
In 2009, the chief medical officer of England published the first official guideline on alcohol use, which also focused on children and young people. While it addresses how parents’ low level of alcohol might affect children’s alcohol use it did not state the impact of parental alcohol use on children overall well-being.
The study’s lead author, Lucy Bryant from the Institute of Alcohol Studies, called for the guidance to be updated with the new found evidence so that parents can be more informed.