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- UK children anxious about parents' drinking
- Quarter of Scots drink above guidelines
- Alcohol producers failing to inform public
- Concern over alcohol-related deaths
- We need to make it easier for people to drink less
- Worrying rise in alcohol-related deaths
- Minimum pricing will save lives
- Pocket money prices for alcohol continue
- Scotland's alcohol problem laid bare
- Cheap alcohol is costing Scotland dear
- One drink a day can increase breast cancer risk
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- What next for reducing alcohol harm in Scotland?
- Scotland must do more to turn tide of alcohol harm
- Concern as funding for alcohol services cut
- Budget: No change in alcohol duty
- Scottish Government urged to curb alcohol marketing
- Consumers have the right to know health risks
- Chancellor urged to tackle cheap, strong cider in Budget
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- Alcohol-free childhood is healthiest option
- SWA granted leave to appeal minimum pricing
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- Half of alcohol being sold under 50p per unit
- SWA urged to respect minimum pricing decision
- Alcohol and mental health are closely linked
- Minimum pricing can be implemented in Scotland
- Alcohol sold at pocket money prices
- Scotland has so much to gain from reducing how much we drink
- AFS welcomes revised alcohol consumption guidelines
- Emergency services face shocking levels of alcohol abuse
- Every child has the right to grow up safe from alcohol harm
- Public health must prevail over big business
- New toolkit to help children affected by family alcohol problems
- Price check reveals cheap cost of strong alcohol
- Sales increase underlines need for minimum pricing
- Time to kick alcohol out of sport
- Alcohol linked with stomach cancer
- AFS calls for compulsory health warnings on alcoholic drinks
- Are supermarkets 'responsible retailers' when it comes to alcohol?
- Scottish health charities call for excise duty rise to tackle cheap alcohol
- Alcohol campaigners unite to call for stronger protection from alcohol advertising to children
- New resource for people concerned about alcohol in their community
- Minimum pricing decision delayed until summer
- No completely 'safe' level of drinking
- New alcohol guidelines published
- Minimum pricing - European court ruling
- Alcohol fuels ambulance assaults
- 82% of Scots agree drink driving is unacceptable
- Scotland's alcohol strategy - what next?
- Scotland leads way in evidence-based alcohol policy
- New report reveals impact of alcohol on emergency services
- Alcohol: a global concern
- Campaigners gather in Edinburgh for global alcohol conference
UK children anxious about parents' drinking
Report finds low-level parental drinking can leave children feeling worried, embarrassed and facing more arguments.
A new report published today by the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) in partnership with the Alcohol and Families Alliance and Alcohol Focus Scotland explores the impact of non-dependent parental drinking on children and families. Findings show parents do not have to regularly drink large amounts of alcohol for their children to notice changes in their behaviour and experience negative impacts.
Whilst much evidence exists on the negative effects of alcohol dependence, this is the first study to look at how lower level alcohol consumption impacts families in the UK.
Download the report - Like sugar for adults. The effect of non-dependent parental drinking on children and families (pdf)
Caroline Flint MP with representatives of the Institute of Alcohol Studies, Adfam and Alcohol Focus Scotland
Having seen a parent tipsy or drunk was associated with children feeling worried as well as experiencing at least one of a range of negative impacts including, feeling less comforted than usual, facing more arguments, unpredictable parental behaviour and disrupted bedtime routines.
Whilst many parents strive to set a good example with their alcohol use, 15% children had asked their parents to drink less and 16% of parents reported feeling guilty or ashamed of their parenting as a result of their drinking. More than half (51%) of parents reported being tipsy, and 29% being drunk, in front of their child. Children surveyed who had seen their parent tipsy or drunk were less likely to consider the way their parent drinks alcohol as providing a positive role model for them.
Children whose parents were in higher socio-economic groups were more likely to report that their parent hides their drinking from them, and that their parent has argued with them more than normal as a result of their drinking.
Children showed an astute awareness of their parents’ drinking, with reports of how much their parents drank matching up accurately with parental responses in the majority of cases. Children described their views on why their parents drank, with 11 and 12 year olds describing alcohol as “like sugar for adults” with parents drinking to “solve their problems”.
Commenting on the report, Katherine Brown, Chief Executive of the Institute of Alcohol Studies said:
“All parents strive to do what’s best for their children, so it’s important to share this research about the effects drinking can have on parenting, and what steps parents can take to protect their children.
“Children are exposed to a barrage of marketing messages that glamourise drinking with strong links to sport and pop music. Parents have a tough job on their hands teaching children about the negative side of alcohol. Hopefully this study will help inform guidance that enables parents to make fully informed choices about their own drinking in front of their children.”
Alison Douglas, Chief Executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland said:
“These days, far more drinking takes place in living rooms than pubs, with three quarters of all alcohol in Scotland sold by supermarkets and off-licences. This means children are more likely to be around alcohol and to witness drunkenness. As well as the negative impacts on children’s wellbeing, seeing how adults drink can have a big influence on our children’s future drinking habits.
"It’s time for effective action to protect children and families from alcohol that is too cheap, readily available and constantly promoted.”
Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield OBE, said:
“Children with hidden vulnerabilities are one of my priorities. Often these are children facing issues that are unknown or ignored, so it’s essential that more research is carried out into their outcomes. The impact of parental drinking on children needs to be given the attention it deserves and this report makes an important contribution to this debate.”
Viv Evans of the Alcohol and Families Alliance, said:
“We recognise that parenting is difficult and we live in a culture which is remarkably accepting of alcohol. We hope that this study goes some way to supporting parents in a difficult job, and alerting us all to the importance of preventing problems with alcohol before they arise.”