According to the Children's Commissar, Maggie Atkinson
in 3 children live with a binge drinker.
Something Must Be Done!
Think of the Children!
I heard her being interviewed and she insisted this was what children were
telling her- whilst parroting phrases that I've never heard anyone who is not a
professional busybody utter. It turns out that these phrases were uttered by
children in focus groups- given that even with adults focus groups tend to say
what the person in charge wants them to say and the people in charge were
professional busybodies, this isn't a surprise.
While I do not doubt that alcohol is the cause, or at least the catalyst,
for a lot of social problems, it does not seem plausible that 1 in 3 children
live with a binge drinker and that a ludicrously inflated figure is being used
for the purpose of scaremongering. And sure enough the definition of binge
drinking is men who have more than eight drinks on one session or women who
have more than 6.
No definition of what a "drink" is, but I suspect that they are
referring to units because the definition of binge drinking given by other
bodies is 8 units for men and 6 for women. That is about three glasses of wine
for a woman or three pints of beer for man. I often "binge" under
this definition- having up to 12 units over the course of about 6 or 7 hours on
a weekend day every so often. Yet I don't consider myself to be a binge drinker, as I
drive home and beat my terrified family in an alcohol fueled rage..... or not.
The report does not say how often this one has to binge to be classified as
a binge drinker either- is having three sherries over Christmas Day a danger?
Yet the Childrens' Commissioner uses figures derived from these kind of
definitions to imply that scenarios like this are endemic in Britain:
‘“I need somewhere safe to go quickly when mum starts drinking and cutting
herself but where can I go?”
That is a quote by a young person
in the report. To which the only response
is "Holy Shit! Your Mum has a problem". But it is not the kind of
behaviour that is associated with three glasses of wine once in a while.
Either they should give honest statistics for the number of problem drinkers or illustrate the issue with examples that are more likely among "binge drinking" parents. But quotes like:
"Some times my Dad comes home with a takeaway before falling asleep for half an hour in the arm chair"
Would not generate much interest.