London: Women who drink heavily tend to pass their bad habits to their teen offspring, warns a UK study.
The study conducted by think-tank Demos claims that in Britain as many as 2.5 million children, 20 percent of the total, live with a parent who drinks hazardously.
Demos examined a survey of 17,000 adults in their 30s. They were asked how often their mother and father drank when they were 16, with the options always, often, sometimes or never.
The respondents also ranked the effectiveness of the parenting they had received, with four categories ranging from `tough love` at the top to `laissez-faire` at the bottom.
Those whose mothers `always` drank were found to be 1.7 times more likely to admit they were now hazardous drinkers themselves. This was defined as exceeding the safe drinking level of 21 units a week for a man or 14 units for a woman.
Similarly, mothers who had `always` drunk alcohol were three times more likely to be described by their children as `disengaged.` The report claimed that a fifth of children, including 90,000 babies, live in families where at least one parent drank `hazardously`.
Jonathan Birdwell, who led the study, said: "The government should focus on ensuring that parents who are misusing alcohol have all the support they need to be effective parents. This is the best approach to minimising harm to children and ensuring that the cycle of excessive consumption is reduced."
"Many parents think their drinking has little or no impact on their families, convincing themselves that if they feed and clean their children and make sure they attend school, they have fulfilled their most important duties," the study said.