Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

Parents' Divorce, Disengagement Raises Kids Risk Of Binge Drinking

Illustration for article titled Parents Divorce, Disengagement Raises Kids Risk Of Binge Drinking

A new study shows that parents divorce may increase children's risk of binge drinking. But parenting styles may matter even more.

Advertisement

According to the Telegraph, a study of British children by the Demos thinktank reveals that kids whose parents divorce before they turn five are more likely to drink later in life. However, it's not just whether your parents are together that matters. Demos also studied the effects of different parenting styles, and found that sixteen-year-olds whose parents are "disengaged" — meaning they're "uninvolved with their children, and do not structure their activities or set standards for their behaviour" — are eight times as likely to binge-drink as teenagers, and twice as likely to continue doing so in their thirties. The best way for parents to prevent binge drinking, meanwhile, was a "tough love" approach, which Demos defines thus:

Parents falling into this category tend to expect that their children will conform to household rules and boundaries but that these will be set and negotiated within a context that encourages autonomy in the children's decision-making. Such parents have high standards but support their children warmly in adhering to them; in their enforcement of rules such parents are assertive without being aggressive.

Advertisement

Demos hasn't yet released its specific data on divorce. However, report author Jamie Bartlett tells the Telegraph,

Divorce won't make your child a drinker, but instability and stress around relationship breakdown takes its toll on parents and children. Difficult relationships and high levels of stress for parents with young children have been shown to affect children later on and their relationship with alcohol is no exception.

It seems that while divorce can have an effect on children, parents can mitigate this effect by maintaining loving relationships with their children — but being strict when necessary. Parents who become disengaged as a result of the stress of their divorce may increase their kids' risk of excessive drinking. But if they're able to maintain a tough love approach, they may be able to help their kids develop a healthy relationship to alcohol regardless of their separation.

Children Whose Parents Divorce 'More Likely' To Become Binge Drinkers [Telegraph]
Poor Parenting Increases Likelihood Of Binge Drinking At Ages 16 And 34 [Demos]

Advertisement

Image via Mihai Simonia/Shutterstock.com

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

cannikinmk3
Cannikin_MK3

I think maybe it's time to invent some new words for classifying binge drinking. As it stands now, binge drinking means drinking to get "wasted" or "hammered" if you will. Yet there are so many contextual situations that the word"binge" doesn't really account for. Is semi-planning to crash some place for a party, really the same thing as running the risk of your 3rd DUI? Is drinking through an entire bottle of vodka every night while watching Law & Order the same thing as getting plastered with whomever at some bar within stumbling distance from your apartment?