The Institute of Alcohol Studies in the in the United Kingdom talked to 997 parents and their children, focus groups, and experts. They found several negative impacts from parents drinking, and that “such impacts can begin from relatively low levels of parental alcohol consumption.”
The Study’s Major Findings:
— There were major differences between the kids who had seen their parents tipsy or drunk and the kids who hadn’t.
— Parents who drink can leave an emotional impact on their kids.
— Many parents assume that their kids don’t notice their drinking.
— If the kids had seen their parent tipsy or drunk, they were less likely to see their parents as positive role models.
— Kids were more likely to feel worried or embarrassed if they had seen their parent tipsy or drunk.
— Kids cannot tell the difference between being tipsy or drunk.
Some of the adults who were questioned felt no need to hide their drinking from their children. “My daughter’s completely aware of it, she tells me,” one parent said. “I think the fact that kids are, kind of, used to seeing people drinking now,” another one stated.
As for why the kids thought their parents drank, some of them had some pretty funny responses. “Alcohol is like sugar for adults, I guess,” one child said. “It’s their happy place,” another one answered.
Of course, having a glass of wine, a beer, or a cocktail certainly doesn’t make you a bad parent, but it’s important to know that kids do seem to notice when their parents have been drinking. Does this mean you should never have a drink again in front of your kids? No! Should you try and hide it? Of course not.
Here’s What Parents Can Do
— Delay the age that their kids first try alcohol.
— Consider how much they drink in front of their kids.
— Know that parents who are tipsy, drunk, or hungover in front of their kids can have a negative effect on them.
— Avoid “glamorizing” alcohol and be aware of how parents talk about alcohol.
— Understand the long-term risks that are associated with drinking, and talk to their kids about it.