Binge drinking and bad parenting

A recently released study indicates that certain parenting styles can significantly effect a childs attitude and predilection towards binge drinking later in life. Parents have a massive influence on their children's development and it stands to reason that a parent who drinks to excess regularly could pass on this type of lifestyle to their offspring. Other styles of parenting can also have adverse results and lead to their children adopting dangerous drinking habits.

In the light of new figures from NHS Scotland showing that sales of alcohol in Scotland are 23% higher than those in England and Wales; which equates to nearly 2 and a half litres more pure alcohol per adult sold in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK; a new study that has looked at over 15,000 children has found that parenting style contributes profoundly to the probability of binge drinking in later life.

The report from Demos was funded by brewers SAB Miller says that 'Consistent warmth and discipline' was proven to be the most productive parenting style when preventing an unhealthy relationship with alcohol occurring in later life. Parents who used 'laissez faire’, ’disengaged' and 'authoritarian' styles of parenting find that their children do not fare as well. It was said that bad parenting of a child aged 16 is liable to increase the chances of the child drinking excessively at that age by up to eight times. Poor parenting in a younger age group was also observed with the conclusion that at the age of 10 poor parenting doubles the risk by the age of 34 of excessive drinking.

It is thought that leading by example is a key element in teaching young people the dangers of alcohol.   Therefore making sure that teenagers do not experience parents or close family drinking alcohol to excess is important.  Further it was noted that it is important that teenagers should not be able to access alcohol in the home.

The research concludes that parents along with schools need to play a much more active role in the problems Britain faces with its growing binge drinking culture. The Government have been asked to make alcohol education projects a priority and asks parents to become more actively involved with these projects.

Nicola Sturgeon, Secretary for Health and Wellbeing in Scotland  has said that the Scottish Government’s Minimum Pricing Policy for Alcohol  Bill is to be looked at in the autumn as a priority, saying.  ‘For too long Scotland's unhealthy relationship with alcohol has gone unaddressed, these shock statistics show that the difference between alcohol consumption in Scotland and England and Wales is now at its highest rate for 17 years. This is a situation that must be tackled head on. Minimum pricing can and will help us to redress the balance.’

NICE, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in the U.K. produces guidance on public health, health technologies and clinical practice.  NICE have recently released a new quality standard for the treatment of alcohol dependence and the abuse of alcohol has been developed for all NHS funded establishments.  This guidance will contribute towards helping those who provide care for patients such as health care practitioners and commissioners to deliver the best possible service to a consistently high standard. Those of you interested in reading the publication can do so at www.nice.org.uk.

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