CBBC Newsround – Living With Alcohol

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Posted by: Sue Atkins

Living with alcohol

Recent research carried out for CBBC Newsround by CHILDWISE is being used in a Newsround Special programme, entitled Living With Alcohol.

CHILDWISE spoke to more than a 1000 children aged between 10 and 14, to better understand how children perceive adults around them drinking.

It is all about how young people are affected by their parents’ relationship with drink.

It tells the real-life stories of three children who have had very different experiences. Living With Alcohol will broadcast on BBC One on 5 July 2010 at 4.55pm.

To watch the programme, click here

As a former class teacher and Head of PSHE ( Personal,  Social and Health Education) I remember when I had to deal with a parent of a child in my class who was an alcoholic. They were in strict denial, often masking their drinking by turning up to school eating mints yet the effects on their 8 year old was devastating as she developed alopecia and was very anxious and depressed. She struggled to express her fears and anxieties as she was aware that she had some sort of secret to keep and not disclose about her really lovely professional mum.

Dr Robert Holden suggests that someone who is experiencing alcoholism, for instance looks very different from someone who is experiencing anorexia. Similarly, someone who is experiencing depression looks very different from someone recovering from  heart surgery. They may look different, and their conditions may have totally different names, yet deep down their illness is the same.

As no dis -ease happens by itself. Alcoholism doesn’t just happen by itself. Alcoholism is an effect , not a cause. It is a symptom not an illness. Alcoholism is not the primary dis-ease; the dis-ease is the excessive self judgement and constant self criticism that pressures someone into taking a drink in the first place.

But what is the difference between a person who “likes to have a drink” as I do on a Friday night, and a person who’s drinking is out of control?

It is not my place to give advice on this area as people who drink to excess need specialist help, but in my experience as an NLP Master Practitioner lots of addictions come from feelings of unworthiness, fear, overwhelm and deep unhappiness and will just  keep changing or re- surfacing in another place from addiction to addiction. So it could be getting addicted to dieting, exercising, to smoking, to shopping, to drugs to alcohol and will just shift into sometthing else if the underlining problem of feeling “lack” is not addressed.

This programme will highlight this very important subject today and offer parents a way to look at this from child’s eyes and ears. 

As ever we are role models in everything that we do- so from drinking a glass or two of wine on a Friday night, to reaching for another can of beer when the football’s on every night during the World Cup we are teaching our children something.

My work as a Parent Coach is not about me finger pointing and judging – just offering a helping hand to help you notice habits that you may have got into that you hadn’t noticed  from your kids point of view.

Here’s more about Living With Alcohol

Living With Alcohol – A Newsround Special will be presented by Bafta Award-winning presenter Barney Harwood and will tell the story of three children whose lives have been affected by their parents’ relationship with drink. 

Newsround has also commissioned a survey from Childwise, the UK’s leading research specialist on children, young people and their families, to better understand how children perceive adults around them drinking. Childwise spoke to 1,234 children aged between 10 and 14.

Previous Newsround specials, which have covered difficult subjects in an accessible and helpful way, include recent reports on internet safety, bullying and bereavement.

In Living With Alcohol, Newsround talks to Liam, who was eight years old when his dad died after a battle with alcohol addiction. He recalls the mood swings that came with his dad’s drinking and how his attitude to alcohol is now different from his friends’.

Eight-year-old Madison lives in a pub and knows a lot more about alcohol than her friends. She thinks it’s OK for adults to drink as long as they don’t overdo it.

Ben’s mum used to drink four bottles of whisky a day. He talks about how it felt having a mother who was so drunk she didn’t know what time of day it was. She’s now in recovery and is determined to give her son the best life ever.

Damian Kavanagh, Controller of CBBC, said: “Newsround has a great track record in covering complex issues in an engaging and helpful way. There has been much discussion about levels of drinking but the social impact is rarely explored from a child’s point of view.

“Alcohol is present in the lives of most of our audience in one way or another, yet it is something they may not feel confident talking about. The children in this Newsround Special talk about the impact of adults drinking on their lives. Talking about their own experiences, they provide insight and can help other children have the confidence to ask questions.”

Owenna Griffiths, editor of Newsround, said: “Alcohol can be viewed as a taboo subject when it comes to children. But it is around them, and we wanted to acknowledge it as a subject that many of them would have questions about.

“The programme explores kids’ attitudes towards adults drinking – how it makes them feel, whether it has influenced how they will behave when they’re older and what they think is too much to drink.”

Living With Alcohol – A Newsround Special and the results of the survey will broadcast on BBC One on 5 July 2010 at 4.55pm.

For help contact  http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/

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