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."

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Popes current and former won't be watching the football together
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Sport
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
business
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Sport
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face
books
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

    Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

    £60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

    Systems Administrator - Linux / Unix / Windows / TCP/IP / SAN

    £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...

    AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer

    £600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...

    E-Commerce Developer

    £45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...

    Day In a Page

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
    Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

    Hollywood targets Asian audiences

    The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

    Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
    Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

    Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

    Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
    10 best girls' summer dresses

    Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

    Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
    Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

    Westminster’s dark secret

    Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
    Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

    Naked censorship?

    The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
    Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

    Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

    As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
    Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

    David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

    Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil