Parental alcohol use is a problem for children significantly more often than parents are willing to believe. The majority of Finnish adults consume alcohol, and up to one fourth of the young suffer from the disadvantages caused by their parents’ drinking. Recurrent harmful effects are being experienced by every 50th adolescent.
Children and adolescents of different ages are concerned about different matters. Small children might find a parent’s altered personality intimidating, whereas adolescents consider the fighting, the embarrassment and the loss of trust towards their parents as the most problematic issues. Most young people accept moderate alcohol use by adults. However, they prefer their parents as completely sober.
Thus, when it comes to the harmful effects, alcohol use in a home environment is a complex phenomenon. Parents’ drinking habits may cause prolonged problems that last long into adulthood. On the other hand, there are several possibilities to protect one from these problems, and it is possible even later in life to seek support for dealing with the issues originating from one’s childhood home.