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Study: Many Parents Think Drinking Improves Their Parenting

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credit: MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images

credit: MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images

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WASHINGTON (CBDC) – Drinking alcohol is helping some to be better parents.

A survey by the U.K. charity — 4Children — highlights a “silent epidemic” in which nearly 700,000 children live with a dependent drinker, and just under a quarter of parents continued to drink as much alcohol as before their baby’s birth and that 17 percent actually increased their consumption.

In a new report released Monday, “Over the Limit: The Truth about Families and Alcohol,” the national charity 4Children warns that alcohol misuse by British families is alarmingly common. The report warns that too many parents remain oblivious to the negative effects that alcohol can have on their parenting. Of parents who drink on a weekly basis, 9 percent of parents thought their family benefitted financially from their drinking.

“This report demands that we think again about our relationship with alcohol for our families’ sake,” 4Children CEO Anne Longfield wrote in the study. “The statistics speak for themselves with consumption of alcohol known to be a major factor in family crisis – from domestic abuse and family conflict to a breakdown in family relationships and the ability to parent.”

The statistics pointed to domestic abuse as a by-product of the alcohol consumption.

Sixty-two percent of children who were subject to care proceedings were from families with parental alcohol misuse. And more than a third of all domestic violence cases involved alcohol.

Only 9 percent of parents recognized that there was a negative impact of drinking or drug use on their family life. Nineteen percent said that their drinking impacted “positively” on their children. In matters of general health, 29 percent of mothers and 30 percent of their partners drink more than the recommended units per week.

“Addiction and the subsequent breakdown in many families is the end of a story that often starts with so called ‘normal’ use,” Longfield wrote in the study. “With proper warnings to parents and better awareness of the impact that alcohol can have, we can avoid the crises that addiction can cause.”

The charity recommends that there is a supplement to existing “danger warnings” for pregnant women on alcohol packaging with additional labeling warning of the potential impacts of drinking on children.

The charity is also calling on the U.K. alcohol industry, estimated to be worth $7.79 billion annually, to invest 1 percent of its value into help for families to prevent alcohol dependency and family crises.

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