An estimated 65,000 children in Scotland are living with parental or carer alcohol misuse. New doctoral research from Louise Hill has explored the experiences and support needs of this hidden group of children.
The research found that while children and young people had extensive knowledge about alcohol and the impact it can have on family life and health, talking about their experiences was incredibly difficult. There was particular concern about sharing any knowledge outside of the family and careful decisions made when seeking help or support - be it formal or informal.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the children and young people experienced a roller-coaster of emotions: anxious, frightened, upset, angry, sad, with many speaking of being worried about the safety of their parents. But, many children spoke about their love for their family and loyalty to their parents, and all chldren shared their parents' optimism that they would be able to stop drinking in the future.
There are important policy and research implications to be drawn from this reserach, particularly providing confidential safe spaces for children and young people to share their worries and concerns, and in ensuring that all children affected have a right to access upport services regardless of their parents' engagement in treatment services.
A summary of Louise's PhD findings were published in a recent CRFR briefing: Listening to and learning from children and young people affected by parental alcohol problems.
Louise has also made a short video podcast talking about her research. View it on the IRISS website by clicking here.