Half of children think they have seen parents drunk suggests new CBBC Newsround survey

Half of children (50%) said they think they have seen their parents drunk at some time, according to a survey commissioned for CBBC’s Newsround.

The survey results will be revealed today on CBBC’s Newsround as part of a wider exploration of the issue of alcohol and how adults’ drinking affects children’s lives which also includes Living With Alcohol – A Newsround Special (BBC One, Monday 5 July 2010 at 4.55pm).

The survey conducted by children’s research specialist Childwise, for CBBC Newsround, asked 1,234 young people aged 10-14 from across the UK questions about their views on alcohol.

Almost three-quarters of the children (72%) questioned said their parents drink alcohol.

Of those children that said their parents drink alcohol, seven out of 10 (70%) thought they had seen them drunk.

Just less than half of the children (46%) surveyed thought that adults should not drink in front of children, whilst just under a third (32%) thought this was ok, and just over a fifth (22%) were not sure.

When given a list of words to describe how they felt when they saw adults drinking, almost half the children (47%) surveyed said they were not bothered. But 30% said it made them feel scared.

Eight in 10 children (81%) surveyed who had seen adults drinking said they noticed one or more changes in the way they behaved.

Of those, almost a quarter (24%) said it made adults act stupid or silly; a fifth (20%) said they became angry and aggressive; another fifth (20%) said they became happy and funny; 19% found them to act strange or different; 18% said they became loud and swore; and 17% said they became dizzy or fell over.

Most children (64%) questioned thought between three and six glasses of alcohol was too much to drink.

Sixty per cent of all children interviewed said they will drink when they are older.


CBBC Newsround Special

CBBC will also broadcast today Living With Alcohol – A Newsround Special presented by Bafta Award-winning presenter Barney Harwood and will tell the story of three children whose lives have been affected by their parents’ relationship with drink.

Previous Newsround specials, which have covered difficult subjects in an accessible and helpful way, include recent reports on internet safety, bullying and bereavement.

In Living With Alcohol, Newsround talks to Liam, who was eight years old when his dad died after a battle with alcohol addiction. He recalls the mood swings that came with his dad’s drinking and how his attitude to alcohol is now different from his friends.

Eight-year-old Madison lives in a pub and knows a lot more about alcohol than her friends. She thinks it’s OK for adults to drink as long as they don’t overdo it.

Ben’s mum used to drink four bottles of whisky a day. He talks about how it felt having a mother who was so drunk she didn’t know what time of day it was. She’s now in recovery and is determined to give her son the best life ever.

Damian Kavanagh, Controller of CBBC, said: “Newsround has a great track record in covering complex issues in an engaging and helpful way. There has been much discussion about levels of drinking but the social impact is rarely explored from a child’s point of view.

“Alcohol is present in the lives of most of our audience in one way or another, yet it is something they may not feel confident talking about. The children in this Newsround Special talk about the impact of adults drinking on their lives. Talking about their own experiences, they provide insight and can help other children have the confidence to ask questions.”

Owenna Griffiths, editor of Newsround, said: “Alcohol can be viewed as a taboo subject when it comes to children. But it is around them, and we wanted to acknowledge it as a subject that many of them would have questions about.

“The programme explores kids’ attitudes towards adults drinking – how it makes them feel, whether it has influenced how they will behave when they’re older and what they think is too much to drink.”

Living With Alcohol – A Newsround Special will broadcast on BBC One on Monday 5 July 2010 at 4.55pm.


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