Every Child Matters: Families Under the Influence

Barnardos. (2002). Every Child Matters: Families Under the Influence. https://knowledge.barnardos.ie/handle/20.500.13085/207
Barnardos’ experience is that the use and misuse of alcohol in Irish society has grown dramatically in recent years and that this has had a major impact on children and young people. This is evident both in terms of underage drinking and in terms of the impact of parental problem drinking on children and young people. There are a range of perspectives and theories on why children and adults drink alcohol and become problem drinkers. Barnardos’ particular concern is that abuse of alcohol in Irish society is seen as an acceptable way to celebrate, to mourn, to deal with stress in our culture. Problem drinking is common to all ages, both sexes and all classes in Irish society. Barnardos works with many families where children and young people are experiencing material, physical and emotional neglect because a parent or carer is unable to care properly for their children due to the effects of problem drinking. Barnardos also sees many situations where children and young people suffer when they use alcohol at an early age. This can have adverse effects on their health and their ability to perform well in school; it can increase the risk of being physically or sexually assaulted, the risk of becoming involved in crime and in becoming a teenage parent. Children are victims both in the case of parental problem drinking where children fail to develop due to family neglect and in the case of underage drinking where young people are innocent victims of the alcohol industry and the saturation advertising of alcohol directed at young people.