How Drinking Impacts Children In The Household
We’ve all heard of the vicious cycle, as in the negative behaviors of a parent that can be repeated as a child grows up. Well that has always been associated with alcoholism and, interestingly enough, could carry over for mothers and fathers who classify themselves as “moderate drinkers.”
This latest research comes out of Reuters, which shared some interesting results from a survey they conducted in the United Kingdom. What they found was that roughly half of all children aged 10 to 17 have seen their parents inebriated at least once in the home.
Another unique component of the study was the reaction these children had when asked about their parent’s drinking habits. When quizzed about the negative effects of any alcoholic behavior, 12 percent called out being neglected, 11 percent were upset about being put to bed later than usual and 8 percent felt it led to more arguments.
Age was also a factor in understanding the impact of these drinking habits. The research appeared to show that children 10 to 13 had the hardest time coping.
Study co-author, Lucy Bryant, was quoted in the Reuters piece about the different reactions older teens had with parents who drink.
“It is possible the older age-group truly experience less harm, but it is also likely some of the negative outcomes we presented, for example, playing less, might not have resonated with them,” she explained. “It is all very important research. We need to understand the effect this level of drinking could have on children.”
Though this study didn’t touch on it, there is plenty of other research that shows children of alcoholics tend to pick up those negative traits. And let’s not forget the emotional trauma that is common with this type of behavior. Alcoholic parents have been to known to rage and physically lash out at their loved ones. There is also turmoil of a parent losing a job or a home because of their addiction.
What was unique about the Reuters report was its call out on the damage that occurs even with moderate drinkers. Even if you don’t think you have a problem, drunken moments in front of young children can create upsetting experiences (and have long lasting effects). Our advice is to do a deep self evaluation about your drinking habits and get help, if needed. Especially if there are children in the home.