Mon, 10 Dec 2012 13:52 UTC
Researchers at the think-tank Demos analyzed a survey of 17,000 adults in their 30s. The participants were asked how often their mother and father drank when they were 16, with options like always, often, sometimes or never.
Researchers found that teenagers who had mothers who "always" drank were nearly twice as likely to have alcohol problems in adulthood.
Many middle class parents "reach for a bottle of wine at night to cope with the stress," and while adult may think that their drinking may have "no impact on their families," researchers said that this habit may be obstructing their ability to be effective parents, Daily Mail reported.
Experts at Demos estimated that a fifth of UK children or a total of 2.5 million children live with a parent with a bad drinking habit.
Researchers stressed that the example set by a family member is significantly more important than the minimum price per unit of alcohol, currently being proposed in the UK.
The participants in the survey also ranked the effectiveness of the parenting they had received, with four categories ranging from "tough love" at the top to "laissez-faire" at the bottom.
Researchers found that people whose mothers "always" hit the bottle were 1.7 times more likely to admit that they were now hazardous drinkers themselves.
The results also showed that mothers who "always" drank were three times more likely to be described as being "disengaged" by their children.
"Many parents think their drinking has little or no impact on their families, convincing themselves that if they feed and clean their children and make sure they attend school, they have fulfilled their most important duties," researchers wrote in the report, according to The Independent.
"Yet, as our research suggests, alcohol misuse is potentially hampering their ability to be the most effective type of parent," they added.
"The children in these families should be our number one priority and higher prices are likely to only increase their suffering," Lead author Jonathan Birdwell said, according to The Independent. "The Government should focus on ensuring that parents who are misusing alcohol have all the support they need to be effective parents."
"This is the best approach to minimizing harm to children and ensuring that the cycle of excessive consumption is reduced," Birdwell added. "The Prime Minister has said that binge drinking needs to be 'attacked from every angle' but the proposals tend to be limited to technocratic solutions like minimum pricing."