Here’s a heads-up to parents planning to bottoms-up this holiday season: Are you ready for how your drinking might affect your children the next day?
Nearly 25 percent of parents who drink on special occasions — such as holiday parties — don’t think about limiting how much they drink or how they will take care of their kids the day after, a new report finds.
“Most parents planning to drink alcoholic beverages on a night out arrange for a designated driver and childcare for the event itself,” the poll’s co-director Sarah Clark, told EurekAlert!
“Fewer parents may consider how their alcohol consumption could impact parenting responsibilities to their young children the next day.”
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The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health is based on responses from 1,170 parents nationwide who had at least one child under the age of 9, according to EurekAlert!
How much mom or dad drinks can spill over into how they parent the day after, Clark said. “A parent passed out on the couch will not be effective in recognizing and reacting to the everyday safety risks that occur with children,” she said.
One in 12 parents of children younger than 9 admitted “to at least one prior situation where they may have been too impaired from alcohol to fulfill their parenting responsibilities,” says a press release from the University of Michigan, where the hospital is located.
“Many of these parents indicated they learned a lesson from that experience, reporting that they changed their habits with regard to the amount of alcohol they consumed and that they were more careful about making plans for the care of their children during and after social events that included alcohol.”
The Scary Mommy parenting blog calls that “hungover parenting.”
“Everyone deserves a boozy night out once in a while. Especially parents,” blogger Julie Scagell wrote. “However, as every parent knows, drinking once you have children comes with consequences.
“Being responsible for another human being when you enjoy one too many cocktails diminishes in direct proportion to the libation(s) consumed.”
Seventy-three percent of the parents who said they drink on special occasions were “very likely to makes plans in advance for someone to watch their child during the event,” the university’s press release said.
“In contrast, 24% of parents were not likely to make plans for alcohol limits or day-after child care.”
Special events “like weddings, reunions and holiday parties offer adults an opportunity to socialize with other adults,” the press release says. “Alcohol is often a part of these events. But when those adults are parents to young children, advance planning is necessary to ensure that children have appropriate care and supervision during and after the celebration.”
Clark said parents can avoid drinking too much by alternating non-alcoholic drinks with alcoholic ones.
“Parents who plan to drink alcoholic beverages during an outing should plan ahead for transportation to ensure they arrive home safely,” she told EureaAlert!
“If alcohol use may potentially impact their ability to take care of their children the following day, parents may also consider childcare arrangements. “Having children stay the night at a relative’s home or asking a grandparent to stay overnight are options to ensure young children are in a safe and supervised environment.”