Mums and dads drinking in front of their children can influence their child’s relationship with alcohol, a new survey has found. Kids who see their parents drunk are twice as likely to be drunk themselves in their teen years. Being introduced to alcohol at a young age can also make them more likely to drink as teenagers.
The most common place for children to get hold of alcohol is in the home. The survey, carried out by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, highlights the importance of parents acting as role models for their children. Seeing parents or even older siblings drunk, as well as having their first drink as young as 6, influences drunkenness.
The research discovered that children who had been introduced to alcohol at a very young age had a greater chance of being a regular drinker and of being drunk multiple times.
“This research shows that parents can have more influence on their teenagers’ behaviour than perhaps many assumed. Both what parents say, and how they behave, have a strong impact on their teenagers’ drinking, drinking regularly, and drinking to excess. Being introduced to alcohol at a very young age – for example, under 10 years old – makes it more likely that they will drink and drink to excess as teenagers,” Claire Turner, Programme Manager for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said, reports the BBC.
“Parents have to realise and accept that whether intended or not, their own attitudes towards drinking, their own rate of drinking and any drunkenness are clear signals to children that this is acceptable and standard behaviour. In addition, parents must accept that allowing children to drink unsupervised can increase the risk of their children being drunk and this can have harmful consequences,” said Don Shenker, Chief Executive of Alcohol Concern.