The findings come from a study by charity 4Children, which warns of a ‘silent epidemic’ of alcohol abuse amongst the British middle classes.
The report, titled ‘Over the Limit: The Truth about Families and Alcohol’, claims that parents could be endangering their children with their unhealthy drinking habits.
4Children’s chief executive Anne Longfield said: “Drinking can seriously dent people’s judgement and the way they engage with their children. Even simple factors such as the increased likelihood for accidents is something that parents need to be aware of.”
However – most parents seem to disagree with the charity’s warning. Of the 575 British parents questioned for the report, two-thirds (62%) said that their drinking behaviour had no impact on their family life. In fact, one in five (19%) believed their alcohol consumption had a positive effect on their ability as a parent.
The report also found that the wealthiest parents were almost four times more likely to drink every day than the poorest. Wealthy people, although heavier drinkers, are more likely than poorer people to escape the stigma that exists around alcohol abuse.
Many households increased their alcohol consumption with the arrival of children, with one in six drinking more after the birth of a baby.
The report acknowledges that although these parents are unlikely to cause social harm with their drinking habits (street violence, vandalism, drugs etc.), the impact of their behaviour on their children could be ‘profound’.
It states that the unpredictable behaviour of an intoxicated parent could significantly impair a child’s development – especially when daily routines are interrupted.
Ms Longfield has called for a ‘rethink on Britain’s relationship with alcohol’.
For advice and support on alcohol abuse, and for information on how a counsellor can help, please visit our Alcoholism page.
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