Reducing harm caused by alcohol

Worried about a parent or family member's drinking?

Are you worried about someone’s drinking?

Seeing your parent or parents drinking or drunk can be scary, especially if they act differently or become short-tempered, emotional, stumble or hurt themselves. If your parent/ carer, or someone else in your home is drinking, it can have an impact on you. You might feel worried, scared, embarrassed or confused.  Maybe this is a new problem.  Or maybe it has been an issue for a while and things have become more difficult due the changes in place because of physical distancing.

You are not alone, and you don’t have to deal with it on your own.

Try talking to

  • someone in your family or a family friend
  • your teacher, if you’re in contact with them online
  • someone else you trust

Confused about someone elses drinking

Looking after yourself

You cannot control (and are not responsible for) the drinking of anyone in your family, but you can get support for yourself. Living with a parent or carer who drinks too much may make you feel worried, lonely, sad, angry, or even embarrassed.

Try to remember that no matter what is said to you, you are not the cause of the drinking nor can you stop the problem.

You may also feel frustrated if they make a promise to stop and then don’t. You might not be getting the support and care from your parent or care giver that you need. It’s completely normal to feel this way.

Here are some suggestions of ways to look after yourself during physical distancing:

  • Stay connected: it is difficult to meet up with other people right now, but try to keep in touch with friends or other family members by messaging, using apps or calling if you can.
  • Continue to do things you enjoy: whether this is drawing, reading, gaming, dancing in your room – anything that makes you feel good and relaxed.  There’s loads of free stuff online just now – have a look at Young Scot they have lots of suggestions for how to keep busy.
  • Families with problems often make rules like “Don’t tell anyone” or “Don’t trust other people”. These rules are unfair and confusing. It is important that you get some help – see the list below – to talk to someone confidentially and privately.
  • Remember you are not an adult and shouldn’t be forced to take on adult responsibilities, like looking after your parent, or younger children in the family.  See the list below for confidential help and support.

Where to get help and support

If you are worried for your safety, or that of others, call the police on 999.

ChildLine is open 9am-midnight. You can call them free on 0800 1111.  If you can’t call without being overheard, they also have an online service where you can text with a counsellor.  You can also find more information on their website

Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol & Drugs supports families across Scotland who are affected by alcohol or drugs and raises awareness of the issues affecting them.  Bereavement support and one-to-one support are available online or by phone. Their website also contains a range of resources to help with your well-being. Helpline: 08080 101011

NACOA offer information, advice and support to children of alcohol-dependent parents. Call now to talk to someone 0800 358 3456 or email to start a conversation:

Give us a SHOUT also provide a free text service 24/7 for people feeling anxious, worried or stressed. Just text 85258.