Some 61,000 children to 104,000 children in Ireland are living in families adversely affected by alcohol. Alcohol Action Ireland is campaigning to have the rights and needs of these children recognised and responded to.

Keeping It In The Family – Children Living With Problem Drinking Parents

For a child, parental drinking can shape their every moment from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed. Will Mam drink today/will Dad drink today? What mood will they be in? Will it mean sweets or going to bed hungry? Or will they be so hung-over that you have to wash your own school uniform even though you are only 10-years-old?

A child might effectively have to become the parent in the family, making sure brothers and sisters are fed. In the most severe cases, a family situation can deteriorate to the extent where children are sexually, emotionally or physically abused or neglected – dirty nappies going unchanged, children going without regular meals.

Not every child in this situation will experience the same degree of harm – a stable adult making sure the comforting family routines of bedtimes and mealtimes are followed can make a huge difference to a child’s life. Children, however, already facing challenges such as poverty, domestic abuse and mental illness, as well as, parental problem drinking can face an almost insurmountable range of challenges.

Alcohol Action Ireland has three steps we intend on following to make sure these children’s rights and needs are recognised and responded to:

Step 1

Increase the knowledge about the reality of these children’s lives

See: https://alcoholaction.wpengine.com/?page_id=195

Step 2

Work with other groups and organisations to put the reality of these children’s lives on the political and public agenda

Step 3

Advocate for children and families to receive “joined-up” and accessible services

aai_thumb08The Children Affected by Parental Alcohol Problems (CHAPAPS) Project
Alcohol Action Ireland was invited to compile the Ireland country report for a European study which aimed to review and identify the main approaches adopted by EU partners in addressing the issue of the children affected by parental alcohol problems. The goal of the ChAPAPs project 2007 – 2010 is to prevent and reduce the negative consequences of parental drinking.  

For more information click here.

aai_thumb13Children living with problem drinking parents “invisible”
There are an estimated 61,000 to 104,000 children in Ireland under the age of 15 living with parents who have problems with alcohol whether alcohol-dependent/alcoholics, regular heavy drinkers or occasional binge drinkers. It is hard to imagine that enough children to fill 150 primary schools could be invisible but effectively they are.

For more information click here.

aai_thumb11The Impact of a Parent’s Problem Drinking
Children of problem drinking parents are at increased risk of suffering from a range of psychological and behavioural difficulties including: conduct disorders, depression, withdrawal and social isolation, self-blame, low self-esteem and anxiety-related disorders.

Find out more about these impacts, click here.

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