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Boozing parents 'more relaxed' about teen drinking

Parents that drink above alcohol unit guidelines appear to have a more “relaxed” attitude to underage drinking, research shows.

The IpsosMORI survey, carried out on behalf of the alcohol education charity Drinkaware, polled more than 1,400 parents and their children.

Almost one in three parents surveyed reported they drink above government unit guidelines, with 19% of their children confirming they have experienced being drunk - compared to 11% of those children with parents who stick to unit guidelines.

Children of “high risk” drinkers are also “more likely” to drink at least once a month - 21% compared to 12%.

Heavy drinking parents are 6% “more likely” to think it is acceptable for parents to allow their kids to drink under 16 (43% compared to 37%) and are 11% “less likely” to think their own drinking has the biggest influence on their children's attitudes to alcohol (43% compared to 54%).

“Most parents want their children to grow up with a healthy relationship with alcohol and try to set a good example,” said Siobhan McCann, head of campaigns and communications at Drinkaware.

”The problem is that some parents drink above the guidelines without realising and this in turn influences their children's attitudes and behaviour.

“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.”

The survey found the majority of 10-17 year old have a “sensible attitude” towards alcohol, with more than three-quarters believing that getting drunk at their age “isn't cool”.

With the festive season around the corner, Drinkaware has encouraged parents to talk to their children about alcohol during the Christmas party season and to be aware that their own festive drinking could have an influence on their kids.

“It's so important that parents are aware of the facts and feel confident talking to their kids about alcohol,” said Carrie Longton, co-founder of Mumsnet.

“With Christmas just round the corner, it's likely that children will be more aware of alcohol and might become curious about trying a drink.”