Half of all parents routinely drink in front of their children according to a new study.
One third of the participating Mums and Dads even admitted to drinking enough to get drunk in front of their kids.
The research was conducted by three organisations – the Institute of Alcohol Studies, the Alcohol and Families Alliance and Alcohol Focus Scotland. The researchers probed adult attitudes to booze, finding that nearly a third (29 per cent) believed drinking in front of children occasionally was fine.
The study focused in particular the effect of parental drinking on children, who are sometimes left anxious and stressed said the researchers, while important daily routines like bedtime can be disrupted.
Sixteen per cent said their parents’ drinking had left them feeling ashamed or guilty, while 15 per cent said they had asked their Mum or Dad to drink less and 16 per cent said they felt embarrassed by their boozy parents. A sad 12 per cent said they felt their parents paid them less attention because of their drinking.
Asked to describe alcohol drinks, children as young as 11 showed a degree of perception, saying it was like “sugar for adults” and that it was something their parents turned to “solve their problems”.
Katherine Brown is chief executive of the Institute for Alcohol Studies. She said:
“It is worrying that the majority of parents reported being tipsy or drunk in front of their child. All parents strive to do what’s best for their children, but this report has highlighted a troubling gap in their knowledge. Parents who have a glass or two of wine in the evening deserve to understand how this might affect their children and the steps they can take to minimise this impact.”
Children’s Commissioner for England Anne Longfield added:
“Many parents make the unwise assumption that even moderate levels of drinking doesn’t bother their children.”
“We know some children become very anxious when their parents use alcohol in ways that lead to uncertain, unusual or unpredictable behaviour. In my view the best way to make that judgment, as in lots of areas to do with children, is ask them, listen to what they say and act accordingly.”