The Daily Telegraph flagged our upcoming (tomorrow) presentation to the Tory party conference in this article. But it seems Demos aren’t the only ones writing on alcohol and parenting.
On the train I shall be reading this freshly minted research, which on first glance seems very much along the lines of what we have been looking at. The 4Children charity pinpoints a “silent epidemic” of alcohol misuse among parents. However they claim that the biggest offenders are apparently well-off, middle-class families who are drinking more and more regularly than ever before. We did speak to middle class families, but perhaps because many families in the upper-income brackets avoid the sort of services offered by our partners Addaction and Adfam, many of the people we spoke to were out of work and poor.
I don’t know if middle-class boozing is a surprise to anyone, but certainly not to me, a child of the middle class and now an adult. In our world, TV programs, books, even cooking shows make it look normal to crack open a bottle of red of an evening, a companion to good conversation or just to relax after a hard day at work. Whilst no Nigelissma, nevertheless when hosting a dinner party, I have always known the first place to start in the kitchen is with a glass of wine to aid the cooking process.
Now that I’m more aware of the health effects – and if I’m honest also because I’m trying to lose weight – I don’t drink at home. Well ok, I lie. I still like to treat myself to a glass or two curled up on the sofa of a Friday night. Or, like some of the people 4Children spoke to, I occasionally compensate for a heavy work load and the resultant slow down in my social life with a wee drink. And noone in my family would think anything of it, because they’d likely be doing the same.
This Demos research project has made me think a lot about my own drinking habits. I’m now keeping a note of my alcohol-free days per week, trying to ensure that stays above three, even if I am out every night (yoga on Mondays ensures a good wholesome start to the week, which is perhas why I have taken to it so). I should probably keep more of a check on the number of units I drink when I’m out aswell. And not just because I could do with losing weight….