When we hear reports of drinking in the media, they are often stories about trips to A&E or city-centre fights, not what happens behind closed doors. Demos recently published a study called ‘Feeling the Effects’ looking at the connection between parental drinking, parenting style and how likely it is that their children will misuse alcohol when they grow up.
The researchers discovered a link between the parenting style ‘tough love’ and the amount the parents drank. It was found that the more alcohol the parents were drinking, the less likely it was that they employed a ‘tough love’ parenting style. The report also found that if children were not brought up with a ‘tough love’ parenting style, they were more likely to abuse alcohol themselves. The ‘tough love’ parenting style is described as a combination of emotional warmth and behavioural discipline.
The report looks at evidence from two different pieces of research; one looking at a cohort study of over 17000 people born in 1970 in the UK, and one piece involving in-depth interviews with over 50 families where at least one parent was an admitted problem drinker. The findings not only showed the link between parenting style and drinking, but also showed that mothers who drank often were more likely to have children who would abuse alcohol in later life. The research also revealed that the fathers drinking habits had little to no effect on the children’s drinking habits.
The authors of the study suggest that helping the parents address their drinking habits is a better approach to the problem, instead of a ‘one size fits all’ approach such as instigating minimum pricing for alcohol.
If you think you, or a member of your family may have an issue with drinking, a counsellor could help. For more information please see our Addiction page.
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