Swanswell welcomes calls for parents to have informed alcohol conversations with their children

21 October 2013

Swanswell’s welcoming calls encouraging parents to have informed conversations with their children about alcohol, as new research finds almost half of 10 to 14 year olds have seen their parents drunk.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to the results of an ICM poll for Drinkaware involving 1,000 parents and children.

According to the survey, 42% of parents said their child had seen them or their partner drunk. While 46% of 10 to 14 year olds said they’d seen their parents drunk, 29% said they’d seen it on more than one occasion.

It also found that almost three quarters (72%) of parents said they felt very confident talking to their children about alcohol and 75% felt they were best placed to do so.

Swanswell shares Drinkaware’s concerns that parents could be sending mixed messages to children about responsible drinking, and believes better alcohol education and clearer information is key to helping inform parents about their own attitudes to alcohol.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘The results of this survey don’t come as a surprise but should act as a wake-up call for parents because their attitudes towards alcohol could influence those of their children later down the line.

If a child is regularly seeing their parents drinking to excess or drunk, it sends out the message that it’s the acceptable norm, and it increases the chances of them doing it when they’re older.  

So it’s vital that parents have access to clear information about the harms of alcohol to make informed decisions about their own drinking, and to help them consider the impact it could have on their children’s attitudes to alcohol.

It will also help parents prepare for conversations with their children about alcohol use by providing them with the knowledge to confidently and accurately answer any questions that might come up.

Ultimately though, tackling alcohol misuse is not something any government, organisation or individual can do on their own – we all have a part to play.’

Last month, Swanswell presented a fringe event called ‘The £21 billion drink: solving society’s alcohol problem’ at the Labour and Conservative Party Conferences, which looked at the cost of problem alcohol use to society and the need for clearer information.

Swanswell encouraged decision-makers to take another look at alcohol messaging and built a case for better education in schools, compulsory questions in the driving theory test and clear information at the point of sale.

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