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Overwhelming problems damaging children’s well-being: Spotlight on the impact of parents’ alcohol abuse on children

The Children’s Society estimates there are 700,000 young people aged 10–17 with a parent who abuses alcohol, according to analysis undertaken as part of the Good Childhood Report 2017. This is equivalent to one in eight (12.4%) adolescents in the UK.

Alcohol misuse was more likely to be reported by male parents or carers than females: two thirds of parents reporting alcohol misuse were male, despite males making up only half of the total sample.

Young people whose parents misuse alcohol can suffer a range of difficulties and poor outcomes. These will vary according to the child’s stage of development, but include behavioural and/or psychological problems, poor educational attainment, low self-esteem, offending behaviour, exposure to sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

The Good Childhood Report 2017 found children living with a parent/carer with alcohol misuse were seven times more likely to have low well-being (22%) than children with no disadvantages (3%).

In terms of their overall well-being, young people living with a parent or carer who misused alcohol had an average well-being score of 6.2 out of 10, compared to a score of 7.4 out of 10 for children with no disadvantages, a difference of 1.2 points out of 10.