Parents turn to drink to cope with childcare

Nearly one in five claim that regular alcohol intake has a positive effect on their families

The Royles captivated viewers for three series with their unapologetic thirst for TV, tea and copious amounts of booze. Now it seems the fictitious family's boozy lifestyle lives on, with almost one in five British parents claiming their drinking helps them to look after the kids, according to a new survey.

More than half of the parents surveyed for the families' charity 4Children said they drank alcohol every week, with 7 per cent admitting they tippled every day. But far from being ashamed of their habits, more than six out of 10 parents said using drugs or alcohol had no effect on their family, and nearly a fifth said their level of drinking impacted "positively" on their parenting abilities. Only 9 per cent thought there was any negative effect on the family at all.

Mark Bennett, director of policy at 4Children, said the findings show Britons see "habitual drinking as a normal part of life, as normal as drinking tea". Far from the working-class Royles, it is the richest households that are four times more likely to drink every day than the poorest, the charity found. It was older parents and women who were most likely to dismiss the idea that alcohol or drug use would have a negative effect on the family.

Some parents said having children actually encouraged them to drink more – with 17 per cent admitting that they increased the amount they consumed after the birth of their first child, including 5 per cent of mothers. Fathers are more than three times as likely to drink every day than mothers, the ComRes survey found, and more than twice as likely as their partners to have tried illegal drugs.

But almost one-third of mothers drink more alcohol every week than the Government's recommended amount, according to a survey by parenting website Netmums. The findings will be published tomorrow in a report, Over the Limit, which claims to have discovered a "silent epidemic" of families suffering with problems behind closed doors.

Mr Bennett added: "Part of the problem is people don't realise that they are causing problems by drinking to excess habitually. It could first be one glass, which leads to another. If parents have had a bottle of wine or more, their ability to react to their child, especially a small child, will be impaired."

The charity is calling for a "major public information campaign", including additional "danger warnings" for pregnant women on alcohol packing, "beer goggles" sessions to be taught in schools to alert young people to the dangers of drinking, as well as prevention strategies to be put in place, before alcohol and drugs "take a grip on families".

About 62 per cent of children who were subject to care proceedings are from families with parental alcohol misuse and more than one-third of all domestic violence cases include alcohol, according to the report. More than one in five children are estimated to live with a parent who drinks hazardously, and 6 per cent are thought to live with a dependent drinker.

But Sally Russell, the founder of Netmums, said that "while it's always the priority that children are kept safe", it's also "vital that parents feel supported in order to begin to change their behaviour, rather than feeling preached at". She added: "No parent wants to be an addict harming their own children, so services must work together to provide the best environment for change."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Extras
indybestThe tastiest creations for children’s parties this summer
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Paolo Nutini performs at T in the Park
music
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    MIDDLE EAST CURRENT AFFAIRS OFFICER

    £27,000-£34,000 per annum: US Embassy: An office of the US Embassy based in Be...

    BALTIC CURRENT AFFAIRS OFFICER

    £27,000-£34,000 per annum: US Embassy: An office of the US Embassy London base...

    Bid Manager, London

    £45000 - £60000 per annum: Charter Selection: Charter Selection are working wi...

    Marketing Executive

    £23000 - £26000 per annum: Charter Selection: Charter Selection are working wi...

    Day In a Page

    Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

    Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

    Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
    Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

    The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

    Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
    Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

    Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

    Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
    Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

    Meet Japan's AKB48

    Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
    In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

    Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

    The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
    Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

    How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

    A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
    The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    The evolution of Andy Serkis

    First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

    Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
    Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

    Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

    Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
    Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

    Blackest is the new black

    Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
    Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

    Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

    From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
    Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor