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A Third of Children Get Scared When Watching Adults Drink

BBC researchers questioned over a thousand children and young teens in the UK to find out how watching adults drink (and get drunk) made them feel

Researchers at the BBC surveyed over 1200 10 to 14 year old children in an attempt to discover how adult drinking affects the children who witness it.

They found that:

  • Half of the children surveyed had seen their parents drunk at least once and three quarters had witnessed their parents drinking alcohol
  • 30% of the children surveyed said that they felt scared when watching a parent drink and nearly half of those surveyed said that they thought that adults shouldn’t drink in front of children.
  • 80% of the children who had seen their parents drinking said that they noticed a change in behavior that occurred with alcohol consumption, with 20% saying that alcohol made their parents loud and aggressive and a further 17% saying that alcohol caused their parents to become dizzy and fall over
  • 3% of the children surveyed said that they saw a parent get drunk several times a week
  • 60% of the children asked said that they planned on drinking alcohol when they got older.

Rosemary Duff, the research director of BBC’s Childwise program said that the results of the study reveal how ingrained binge drinking has become in the UK. She says that among the most worrisome statistics gleaned from the study is the fact that about half of these kids were not bothered by seeing adults drunk, saying, "It's going to make it very very difficult to tackle the culture of binge-drinking, it's so embedded in their idea of what's a good night out."

In revealing her predictions for the future, Ms. Duff had somber words of warning, saying, "Each generation takes the cues from their parents, and if their parents are drinking more it makes it easier for them to drink more."

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