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Binge Drinking: Is having one too many damaging our children?

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Many parents enjoy a tipple or two after a hard day’s work at home or in the office, but recent reports reveal that some parents are drinking to excess during binge drinking sessions. Alcohol abuse takes many forms, including functioning alcoholics and those who drink heavily on several occasions throughout the week, to individuals who drink a lot, but less frequently than expected for what can be classed as an alcoholic.

A Shocking Report into binge drinking

Findings by the Community Research Company which were reported via the Office of the Children’s Commission (OCC) reveal how one in three children reside with a binge drinking parent. This equates to a shocking 3.4 million children that are exposed to parents that drink between six and eight drinks in one sitting. The report also shows how each year, 31,000 children under the age of one live with dependent drinkers.

Safety

The report has highlighted concerns with regards to parents’ capability to care for their children after consuming such large quantities of alcohol. It is feared that children suffer both psychologically and physically at the hands of binge-drinking parents. The report, Silent Voices calls for the appropriate authorities to take action on behalf of those children that are vulnerable to parents who drink too much. The Children’s Commissioner for England, Maggie Atkinson believes the effects of binge drinking may not be immediately obvious and can cause long-term damage to a child that may only surface in later years.

Further Evidence

A separate report by Dr Victoria Manning of the National Addiction Centre corroborates the findings, and Dr Manning is adamant that further research into individual cases needs to be pursued. She also insists that it is, in many cases, too late once a problem family has been brought to the attention of the authorities as the situation has, in most cases, already reached “crisis point”. Dr Manning believes earlier intervention can decrease the risk to children and help retain healthy relationships within families.

Negative Role Models

Besides the immediate risk of danger pose to children in the care of binge-drinking parents, the studies show that children are more likely to follow patterns of behaviour portrayed by their parents and that children who witness their parents drinking regularly and intoxicated are more likely to indulge in binge drinking themselves.

Government Intervention Needed

The OCC hopes the findings of the report will encourage the Government, child protective services and health and social care professionals to instigate plans that will prevent children living in such damaging environments. Although the OCC states there have been significant improvements over the past 10 to 15 years, it also believes much more can be done. At present the Government insists it is assisting in the prevention of binge-drinking by adjusting licensing laws to help local communities deal with pubs and clubs that pose problems.

Diane Abbot, Labour health spokesperson believes the present Government is not doing enough to tackle the problem and states:

“This report confirms that the Government’s failure to take real action on alcohol pricing is helping to feed an epidemic on teen drinking.’

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About Denise Morgan

About Denise Morgan

Denise has five years' experience writing for various web-based companies. During this time she has also contributed to magazine articles and brochures. In addition to writing, Denise is a gigging singer/songwriter and is proud to have featured on the first series of BBC One's The Voice UK, having been selected by the great Sir Tom Jones. Denise is mother to the most talented and ridiculously intelligent two year old that has ever been and ever will be (until she creates another one that is). This kind of hyperbole is restricted only to her progeny and is not a reflection of her usual writing styles... Denise and her son live in Manchester along with their five cats - yes that's right, five.

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