Effect of harmful alchohol consumption on children

It's Anti-Alchohol Awareness Week. Do you know that many children state that after 2 glasses of alcohol, adults are unpleasant, embarrassing and even scary. Some adults think that that is only the start of the evening.

Children of parents who are heavy drinkers are at a much bigger risk of developing their own difficulties. A British study states that compared to other children, children of alcoholics are:
- twice as likely to experience difficulties at school
- three times more likely to consider suicide 
- five times more likely to develop eating disorders
- four times more likely to become alcoholics themselves

Therefore it is important to find these children and give them support. When they meet safe and trusted adults and get the right help, their childhood difficulties can be turned into strengths.

Since 2004 the Swedish children’s organisation and Eurochild member, Junis has published an annual report about the support local communities offer children in families with addiction. The goal with the report is to raise awareness on the issue and to help local authorities find ways to improve their work. Junis educate and arrange seminars about the report, where professionals from different fields meet. The communities themselves report that their biggest challenge is to find the children who need support.

So what can we all do to improve the situation for these children?

-          Firstly, all adults who meet children and young people need education about alcohol, not so much focusing on what alcohol does to the drinker, but what it does to those close to him or her.

-          Secondly, we should all dare to talk about alcohol with kids, we should talk a lot about it, and in ways that do not stigmatize neither the adults with addiction, nor their children.

-          And thirdly, we need to cooperate to be able to see children in need of support: school, social authorities, health care, voluntary organisations and many more.

And, beyond and above this, we have to address the real problem and work in a long term way to reduce the number of children in this situation. The root of the problem is that too many adults drink too much alcohol, and working on reducing the overall drinking will definitely help future children! 

Find out more: www.junis.org

Read latest report from IOGT on Alcohol and Violence

See the infographic on the effects of harmful alchohol consumption