Raising Teens: Alcohol and conflict at home

Welcome to the last in our series on families & alcohol. We were joined by NACOA ambassador, Josh Connolly, for a frank and supportive discussion about how we can open up discussions about alcohol and how to avoid conflict. Importantly, Josh gave us a real insight into how children are affected by a parent who drinks. He shared his story, of having a father who was an alcoholic, and then his own struggle with drink and becoming a father himself. And I think the most astonishing thing Josh told us in his interview was that “one in five children are living with a parent that drinks hazardously, so enough to harm the people around them”.

“If you’ve got a four-year-old and their parent can’t show up to them because they’re drinking every night, then that four-year-old has two options: Admit to themselves that their parents are never going to be able to turn up for them, or try and change themselves and hope that it’s their fault. And they’re going to do the second thing. And the reason is because at least it gives them some control. Maybe if I can do good enough at school, maybe if I can be funny, maybe if I can be naughty, then – whatever it may be – maybe if I can do this, then my parent’s going to stop drinking.

“So, in that case, then I think you have to find a way to start talking to them about it. I don’t think you have a choice. Otherwise you’re leaving them on their own with it.”

You can watch the full interview (30 mins) here:

⭐️ You can see all the discussions from our series and find where to get help and support here: Raising Teens Live: Families and Alcohol

Help & advice

If you need support or information, take a look at our Help page on Alcohol and Drugs.

NACOA, National Association for Children of Alcoholics, offers advice and information, including a helpline 0800 358 3456, message boards and online chat.

BeSober is a non-profit community organisation helping individuals to manage and control their alcohol intake and to transform their mindset, health and wellbeing around alcohol.

Find out more about Josh Connolly on his website: joshconnolly.co.uk
Follow Josh on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

To help with managing conflict at home:
for parents whether together, separated or considering separation, who want to find ways to improve their relationship and get on better: Parent relationships (brighton-hove.gov.uk) 
Ideas on how to reduce tension and arguments at nine: Getting On Better cards (brighton-hove.gov.uk)