Boozy Parents Raise Boozier Kids

By Chrisanne Grise 12/04/12

Kids whose parents drink heavily are twice as likely to drink themselves, a new study finds.

Like father, like son. Photo via

The phrase "chip off the old block" seems to be the norm when it comes to drinking habits, new research confirms. In a study published by the independent charity Drinkaware, researchers found that children are almost twice as likely to drink if their parents are heavy drinkers; of children with parents drinking over the recommended amount, 19% had been drunk before, compared to 11% of children whose parents drink responsibly or not at all. And of the children with heavy-drinking parents, 21% drink at least monthly, compared to 12% of the kids with parents who drink less. "Most parents want their children to grow up with a healthy relationship with alcohol and try to set a good example,” says Siobhan McCann, head of campaigns at Drinkaware. "The problem is that some parents drink above the guidelines without realizing and this in turn influences their children's attitudes and behavior.“ Researchers polled 1,433 parents in the UK along with 652 of their children between ages 10 to 17, and found that parents who drink more tend to have a more relaxed attitude towards underage drinking, often assuming the behavior to be inevitable. In addition, they are less likely to realize that their own drinking impacts their children's perception of booze. “When it comes to alcohol, parents have the biggest influence on their children and lots of children would turn to their parents first for advice,” says McCann. On a brighter note, the study also found that 77% of the kids thought getting drunk at their age was “not cool,” and 93% thought it was unacceptable for one of their peers to get drunk once a week.

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Chrisanne Grise is a multimedia journalist specializing in health/fitness, lifestyle, travel, bridal, and music. Her work has appeared in print and online for publications such as Martha Stewart Weddings, Parents, FitnessMagazine, Fisher Price, Bridal Guide, Scholastic's Choices,,, and more. She is the Senior Editor at The New York Times Upfront. Follow her on Linkedin and Twitter.