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Feeling the Effects

In this report we consider the impact of parental alcohol misuse on families, in particular, its impact on a parent’s ability to parent and a child’s likelihood of drinking excessively as a teenager and later as an adult. Many parents think their drinking has little or no impact on their families, convincing themselves that if they feed and clean their children and make sure they attend school, they have fulfilled their most important parenting duties. Parenting is not easy, and recent reports suggest that some parents – particularly among the middle classes – reach for the bottle at night to cope with the stress. Yet, as our research in this report suggests, alcohol misuse is potentially hampering their ability to be the most effective, ‘tough love’ type of parent, which in turn increases the risk of their children developing character traits which could expose them to problematic drinking behaviour. Given the large numbers of parents drinking above recommended limits, these findings about parenting style are particularly relevant.

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