Suffer Little Children

Suffer Little Children

Alcohol is no ordinary commodity. Its impact on our lives and our families is habitually underplayed, and the personal, social and health risks involved are ignored or considered an acceptable dimension of alcohol use. This undermines the change in our culture that is required if we are to prevent the harm that blights the lives of whole families and harms the development of children trapped by the effects of their parents’ problematic drinking. 1 in 5 children in the UK is affected by their parents' drinking. Research shows that parental alcohol misuse can have a considerable negative effect on children, young people and the family. Children growing up in households where alcohol use is problematic often do not achieve their full potential in life. They may have low self-esteem, feel unsafe and find it difficult to engage in relationships, illustrating a lack of trust often into adulthood. Such profound effects may impact on the five outcomes of the Every Child Matter’s framework : https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/every-child-matters Although this policy was brought in back in 2003, it is still very much an important policy for anyone working with children. Also alcohol misuse is often hidden by parents, by family members and by children themselves. This can have serious consequences for children, including (but not limited to) poor educational attainment, emotional difficulties, neglect, abuse and taking on inappropriate caring responsibilities. Alcohol misuse is also linked with family disharmony and violence. “Parental alcohol misuse damages and disrupts the lives of children and families in all areas of society, spanning all social classes; it blights the lives of whole families and harms the development of children trapped by the effects of their parents’ problematic drinking” (Turning Point, 2006) : www.turning-point.co.uk/media/53899/bottlingitup2011.pdf Different methods of collecting data have been used in the jurisdictions of the UK. One report estimates that between 780,500 and 1.3 million children are, or have been, affected by parental alcohol problems. Another review seeking more accurate statistics concluded that the number of children living with substance misusing parents exceeded earlier estimates and that over three million children (30%) under 16 years in the UK lived with an adult binge drinker. Successive governments have failed to address this issue, and for years many have turned a blind eye to the scale of this problem. Due to intense political pressure and disgust, moves are finally afoot to address this issue: http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/POST-PN-0570/POST-PN-0570.pdf CAPE (Children of alcoholic parent’s engagement) is another good program amid at professionals who work with and support children affected by parental alcohol misuse. For more information, please see: https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/parental-alcohol-misuse A little known charity has been working hard behind the scenes to add some much needed love and support to those children who are trapped, confused and troubled. This organisation is called NACOA (The National Association for Children of Alcoholics). Here children get to have a voice. They need no longer suffer in silence, and feel alone and scared. Mental child abuse should never be tolerated within any society : http://www.nacoa.org.uk/ Last year (2019) I happen to attend a local support group trade fair in my area. On one of the stalls, were some nurses who go into all the local schools and educate children about such things as basic health and personal hygiene. Because I happen to live in an area with a high mortality rate when it comes to liver disease. I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to introduce these nurses to NACOA. They are now talking to children in schools, and raising awareness of alcohol abuse in the home. Much more still needs to be done. I have added these two videos here to try and highlight the plight of these poor children and to try and show just how damaging alcohol can be. Not just for the user with the problem, but how families can become torn apart. The second of these two videos (on the right) is rather emotional, for this I make no apologies. I hope it does make a positive impact with those with an alcohol problem and make them think twice about the damage that is all to often caused.
The Liver Life Project