Parents and alcohol

Lots of people drink alcohol. Which can be fine in sensible amounts. But drinking too much can cause lots of problems. It can affect your life if a parent or someone close to you is drinking too much but we can help.

drinking too much

Signs that someone you care about is drinking too much can be hard to spot if you don't know what to look for.

It's ok to...
Relax with a glass of wine or beer. A lot of people like to do this, and this doesn't change the way they behave.

It's not ok to...
Feel that 1 or 2 glasses of alcohol isn't enough. If someone is drinking too much, and changing how they behave when they drink, then this isn't ok.

5 things you should know:

  • it's not your fault if your parents drink
  • you don't have to keep their drinking a secret
  • it's not down to you to stop their drinking
  • you have the right to feel safe and loved at home
  • you can get support.

what's a drinking problem?

If someone's drinking too much and they're not able to stop, they may have a drinking problem. 

This is called alcoholism. Alcoholics can also lose control over how they act when they're drunk.

Doctors don't know all the reasons why some people have drinking problems. Some people start out drinking a little and end up addicted to alcohol. And some might start drinking after something bad happens.

Whatever the reason, it's not ok and they should get help.

Someone might drink to:

  • forget about problems
  • deal with stress
  • cope with feeling upset
  • feel better about themselves
  • join in with what other people are doing.

It's not your fault

It can be scary if you live with a parent or carer who drinks too much alcohol. It might make you feel worried and confused. Or you might feel let down, or even neglected.

You might feel like you have to take care of your parents when they drink too much. Or you might end up looking after your brothers or sisters because your parents can't.

It's important to know that it's not your fault. And you can get help.

What you can do

Alcoholism is an illness, so alcoholics usually need medical treatment or professional help to stop drinking. They could get this help from a doctor or therapist.

Someone with a drink problem might pretend everything's okay, and say that they don't need any help. So sometimes this can be difficult to talk about. You could try signing up for a locker to use our mood journal to record how it makes you feel.

Remember, you don't have to cope on your own. Find some simple steps below:

what happens if you tell someone?

Speaking to someone about your parent, carer or friend's alcohol problem doesn't always mean that you'll be taken into care. Or that you'll get them in trouble.

Telling someone can mean they get the help they need.

The police and social services are there to protect you and get them the support they need to get better.

Every situation is different, but they'll only put you in care if they think it's too dangerous for you to live at home.

You might be worried about what could happen. But it's important your parents get the help they need.

Sally's Story

effects of drinking

Drinking too much can cause lots of problems and lasting damage to your body.

And if they're drinking around you, it can make you want to drink alcohol too.

But you can get support.