A "tough love" style of parenting, which combines discipline and warmth, has been found the most effective in ensuring children don't
develop an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.
Research by Independent think tank Demos has revealed that bad parenting at 16 made children more than eight times more likely to become binge drinkers at that age and twice as likely to drink excessively when they were 34.
Demos analysed the drinking habits of almost 32,000 people during the past three decades.
It also found that children with parents who divorce or separate before they are five are more
likely to become binge drinkers when they reach 16 than children with
parents who remain together
The report's author, Jamie Bartlett, was quoted in the Telegraph as saying: “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. Setting strong rules around alcohol
consumption as children get older will be crucial to ensuring that we are
not raising a generation of binge drinkers.”
Less effective styles of raising children were displayed by "authoritarian" parents, who set high standards and employed strict discipline; "laissez faire" parents, who are emotionally engaged but do not set rule or boundaries; and those who are "disengaged" with their children.
Demos said it would be avisable for the nation's parents and the Government to work together to change "an entrenched binge drinking culture" among the young people of Britain.
It recommended parents develop a warm and loving relationship in the early years of their children's lives and assert discipline and supervision at the ages of 15 and 16.
Parents should avoid getting drunk in front of their children, not take a relaxed attitude to under-age drinking and set firm boundaries, the think tank said.
The report also recommmeded the Government invest in alcohol-related school programmes that involve parents and enforce under-age drinking laws.