Our Blogs

We believe we've created the quickest, simplest & best quality divorce solution available

Reports have claimed that Children of Divorce are more likely to Binge Drink Later in Life, but is this really a Reason for Concern?

Following them having studied the drinking habits of 30,000 people across a period of between thirty and forty years, British thinktank Demos have concluded that children whose parents divorce are more likely to binge drink in later life.

I’ll openly admit that I became greatly concerned when I read one headline concerning the corresponding report. Not because of Demos’ findings, but because of the foolish and quite frankly irresponsible way in which one of our biggest newspapers chose to represent them. The Sunday Telegraph chose to convey the findings of Demos’ study under the headline ‘Children Whose Parents Divorce ‘More Likely’ to Become Binge Drinkers’. Having read the thinktank’s press release on the subject, however, I noted that the increased likelihood of children of divorce engaging in binge drinking was referred to only briefly; with the vast majority of the document instead referring to how parenting techniques can affect the chances of a child abusing alcohol in later life.

Why, then, did the paper’s Consumer Affairs Editor, James Hall, choose such a headline? I initially felt that the publication’s right-wing ethos had led them to print this misleading title. Their desire to condemn parents that have obtained or are seeking a divorce and promote the nuclear family taking precedence over objective reporting.

Whilst the news values of his employer certainly influenced his work, though, Halls’ headline is the result of more than just political pandering. Demos’ findings actually concluded that parents who fail to provide their children with emotional support, appropriate limits and boundaries or subject them to excessive discipline are likely to find that their children drink more in later life. The potentially negative effects of divorce were discussed only briefly and, when the study’s more meticulous findings are taken into account, it soon become apparent that good parenting can negate the negative effects of divorce and its potential association with binge drinking.  Mr Hall, however, knowing what his editors required from him, has chosen to conclude that single parents will struggle to provide children with these requirements.

Many would argue that this assumption is entirely fair. Single parents are likely to find it more difficult to offer their children all of the support they need as a result of patience and energy becoming strained. Still, I would conclude that such assumptions are not only crass, but offensive. Mr Hall has, ultimately expressed veiled opinion and printed it as news. Yes, the article placed far less emphasis on the negative effects of divorce, but the headline itself would better serve an editorial or column. It should not have been presented as news.

The all too apparent lack of objectivity present within Hall’s headline has potentially robbed divorced couples of the positive message that they could have gleamed from these findings: specifically that, in spite of their divorce, they can, through collaboration and cohesion, engage in effective parenting and negate a great deal of the negative effects that their divorce could have on their children.

Request a callback
Request a callback

Calls may be recorded for training and monitoring purposes

Confused About Divorce? Free Help & Advice

Click to Call FREE 0800 058 4462