The Effects of Alcohol on Parenting - How Much is Too Much: a blog about how much alcohol it takes to become impaired at parenting and other potential problems.


Many people drink; the majority of the population doesn't have a problem with drinking and parenting. Still, it can make it harder, whether from dealing with the kids when you have a splitting headache from drinking too much the night before or something more serious like abusive behavior towards the children.

It's important to know some of the possible problems that can occur if you take your alcohol consumption too far when parenting.  It's also necessary to understand what could to your children's future lives and what your actions may contribute to them.

Verbal Beratement

When parents are drinking together, they could end up bickering with each other.  Normally, when you are arguing, one person feels like they have eventually lost the argument after all outcomes have been discussed.

It's at this point that parents may become upset and in a bad mood.  If the child in the family gets a little out of line of just says the wrong thing, then the parent may take it out on them.  

Most times it will just end with verbal beratement towards the child and nothing more.  The child will have to deal with the backlash from the bad mood that the parent is in.  This can cause more arguments and possibly more problems with the parents in the situation. It's a slippery slope and never ends happily when alcohol is involved.

It would be wise to air any grievances you have with your partner when the children are in bed, or count to 10 and let your partner win the argument for a quiet life. This situation should increase the chances of your child never hearing any altercations with the parents.

It is important to try and minimise any verbal abuse to your children to a minimum, especially when alcohol is involved.  Including drink in the situation can amplify and potential problems when dealing with offspring.

child's risk for future alcohol abuse

I know a man whose father was an alcoholic.  He told me that his father used to make him drink cider with him when he was a child, full-strength cider.  When it happened, he was not even 16 years old, and it was too strong for him as he was under the legal drinking age.  This man also became an alcoholic, and luckily for him, he is now a complete teetotaler.  He still goes out to bars but will order a coffee and smoke cigarettes now, still both stimulants.

It can often be said that children are more likely to be interested in trying alcohol if one or both parents are drinkers themselves. This is because the situation can become normalised for the child. Even though alcohol will tatse bad for the child if they were to try, they would still wonder why the parents continue to drink.

The other factor is that alcohol may be easily accessible in the house if the parents drink at home. This could end badly if the child is inquisitive enough to try some of the parents' drinks maybe.  Often, parents may give their children a taste of alcohol on a special occasion such as Christmas.  I used to get a Babycham around Christmas time, which is a sickly sweet sparkling wine.  There did not use to be alcopops back then, but now, they types of drinks will appeal to children as they don't even taste of alcohol.


 Could make their younger children feel unsafe

Being around any drunk person when you are completely sober can be one of many things.  It can often be funny to see them staggering around or even falling over.  Of course, its not really that funny when you think about it as they could be a danger to themselves or others.  On the other hand, if you see someone who is drunk and confrontational, then it's certainly not funny at all.  

If parents are getting drunk in front of their children, then there can again be mixed feelings depending on how the parents are acting.  Being drunk is usually a bit of a roller coaster ride for many, with an initial high followed by a comedown the next day.  Often the rollercoaster ride could even be is the same night, its not unusual for people to a breakdown in tears if they are having a bad period in their lives. Alcohol can increase the feeling you have and make your emotions show even more than they would if you were sober.

Imagine a child seeing somebody act out their feelings amplified x 10.  It could lead to creating an unsafe feeling for the child if they see their parent upset or emotional because they have drunk too much. 

It's important to keep the child away from potential problems and emotions you can feel through alcohol.

Women who drink heavily during their first trimester of pregnancy have an increased risk of congenital disabilities

Drinking whilst pregnant is luckily not something that most women will consider, and for a good reason. It's very well known that drinking alcohol whilst pregnant can cause birth defects.  In years gone by, doctors would advocate alcohol for pregnant women. Guinness was often recommended to pregnant women to help increase iron levels in the body.  It's crazy to hear this now, but in the past, this was common practice.

There are several defects that drinking alcohol in high quantities can give to unborn children. For this reason, many women choose not to drink at all, and it can be one of the first signs that friends or families look for to take a guess at the status (whether she is pregnant or not) if somebody refuses a drink.

It is now known that drinking alcohol when pregnant can cause poor growth and brain damage in unborn children.  Drinking while pregnant in the first three months can also cause a miscarriage in pregnant women.  A lot of women now choose not to drink at all whilst they are pregnant.