For children and young people


Download the factsheet in English or Welsh.


If your parent or carer drinks too much it’s important for you to know that you don’t have to cope alone: help and support are available. You cannot control (and are not responsible for) the drinking of family members, but you can get support for yourself and your family, and maybe also your parent.

You aren’t responsible for their drinking

Remember that you cannot control someone else’s drinking – they have their own reasons for drinking which ultimately have nothing to do with you. You are not the reason they drink, and it is up to your parent to take charge of their own drinking behaviour and seek some professional support.

Your feelings are important

Living with a parent or carer who drinks too much may make you feel worried, lonely, sad, angry, and even embarrassed. You may also feel frustrated if they make a promise to stop and then don’t. You might not be getting the support and care from your parent that you need. These feelings are completely normal, and your feelings are important.

You are not alone

More than 220,000 children in England live in a household with an adult who is alcohol dependent and who may be in need of specialist treatment, and estimates show that the number living with someone who is drinking harmfully could be much higher.

Is my parent or carer drinking too much?

Your parent or carer may be drinking too much if:

  • They are unable to control the amount they drink
  • Their behaviour changes because of their drinking
  • Their drinking is causing problems in everyday family life

What to do if you need help

  • If you think your parent(s) may be drinking too much, contact Childline on 0800 1111 for advice and support
  • The National Association for Children of Alcoholics have lots of information for children (and their parents) on their website. Visit nacoa.org.uk or call 0800 358 3456
  • Al-Anon family groups provide support to anyone whose life is, or has been, affected by someone else’s drinking. Visit www.al-anonuk.org.uk
  • You can find more support services through Adfam. Visit adfam.org.uk

Read our other blogs about alcohol and families.