Children Affected by Parents’ Drinking Habits

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. tipsy / ˈtɪp si / (adj) – a little drunk

    Three glasses of wine made me tipsy, but I could still remember everything that happened.

  2. overplay / ˌoʊ vərˈpleɪ / (v) – to exaggerate or make something bigger than it actually is

    She overplayed her illness just to get sympathy from her coworkers.

  3. make light of / meɪk laɪt ʌv / (idiom) – to consider something as not important

    I was offended when my brother made light of my problems.

  4. inebriated / ɪnˈi bri ɪt ɪd / (adj) – drunk

    The inebriated student was suspended for consuming alcohol in school.

  5. boil down to / bɔɪl daʊn tə / (idiom) – the main cause of something

    How children behave boils down to how they were disciplined.


Read the text below.

Children are negatively affected by their parents’ drinking habits, a study has found.

The study entitled “Like Sugar for Adults”, which was conducted by the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS), gathered insights from around 1,000 parents, their children, and some experts.

The parents consumed no more than 14 units of alcohol, or around four to seven wine glasses, which is the officially recommended consumption.

Findings revealed that 29% of the parents have been drunk in front of their children, while around half have been tipsy. Parents also tend to overplay their drinking to their children by showing off how much alcohol they have consumed and making light of the repercussions of drinking.

The study also found that 18% of the children were ashamed of their parent’s drunkenness, 11% were worried, and 12% claimed they received less attention from parents who drink. In addition, parents who are seen in their inebriated state are less likely to be considered as role models by their children.

On another note, children have also been found to imitate their parents’ behavior. Results of a survey conducted by the UK Social Care Information Centre revealed that 11 to 15-year-olds in England have a higher tendency to adopt a drinking habit if the people they live with drink alcohol.

Nevertheless, addiction counselor Alastair Mordey said that it all boils down to the way drinking is done. He emphasized that alcohol itself is not the problem, but how people consume it.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• If you were a parent, would you drink in front of your children? Why or why not?
• How can parents avoid exposing their children to their drinking habits?

Discussion B

• What values have you learned from your parents? Discuss.
• How do you apply these values in your life?