Drinkaware research shows link between drinking parents and their kids' views on alcohol

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Children of parents who drink above the Government’s unit guidelines are more likely to have ever been drunk than children of parents who are low risk drinkers (19% vs.11%) and to drink at least monthly (21% vs. 12%), reveals new research from Drinkaware.

The daily unit guidelines for men are 3-4 units of alcohol daily for men and 2-3 units of alcohol for women.

The research by IpsosMORI for the alcohol education charity surveyed 1,433 parents and their children (652). It highlights that 30% of parents in the UK are drinking above the unit guidelines and that there are links between the amount parents drink, their attitudes to children and alcohol, and their kids’ drinking behaviour.

To coincide with the research, Drinkaware has published advice for parents​ encouraging them to talk to their children about alcohol during the Christmas party season and to be aware that their own festive drinking could have an influence. 

Parents who drink above the unit guidelines appear to have a more relaxed attitude to underage drinking than parents who are tee-total or drink within the guidelines.

According to the research above guideline drinking parents are:

  • More likely to think it’s acceptable for parents to allow their kids to drink under 16 (43% vs. 37%)
  • Less likely to think their own drinking has the biggest influence on their children’s attitudes to alcohol (43% vs. 54%). 
  • More likely to think it is inevitable that a child under 16 will drink (68% vs. 58%).

The research also highlights that over a third (36%) of parents who drink above the recommended daily guidelines believe they drink within safe limits.

Siobhan McCann, head of campaigns and communications at Drinkaware, said: “Most parents want their children to grow up with a healthy relationship with alcohol and try to set a good example. The problem is that some parents drink above the guidelines without realising and this in turn influences their children’s attitudes and behaviour. 

”When it comes to alcohol, parents have the biggest influence on their children and lots of children would turn to their parents first for advice. Family gatherings during the festive season are a great opportunity to talk to your children about why people drink and the consequences of drinking to excess in an open and honest way."


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