It’s 5 pm. You’ve survived another day of home learning, you’ve managed to get a few hours of work and you’ve kept everyone alive. If you don’t deserve a wine, then I don’t know who does!
More and more Aussie parents are celebrating their daily victories or dealing with their daily stresses during lockdown by reaching for a drink. A cocktail, a beer, a wine, a cider – as long as it’s cold and contains alcohol, we’ll take it.
But is our lockdown drinking habit getting out of control? Is drinking every day the norm now? How much are we really consuming?
One in six parents drinking every day
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation revealed today that one in six (14%) of Aussie parents are drinking daily. In a survey of over 1,000 parents across Australia, it was found that since the start of the lockdown period:
More than one in four (29%) parents have increased their alcohol intake, with millennial parents the most likely to be drinking more (35%), followed by Gen X parents (28%), then baby boomers (16%).
Parents of 9-12 year olds were found to be drinking the most, with one in 10 saying they were drinking “a lot more” following the introduction of coronavirus restrictions.
Impressionable 9-12 years olds were the most exposed to drinking, with almost a quarter of parents of this age group (23%) saying they have been consuming alcohol in front of their children daily or every other day during lockdown.
Almost two-fifths (38%) of Australian parents reported heightened levels of stress and anxiety as the reason for their increased alcohol intake
One in four (25%) of parents specifically pinpointed the challenges of home-schooling as to the reason for their alcohol intake increase.
Stay in, drink up
To add fuel to the fire, a new report indicates that we are getting hit with alcohol-related ads at an alarming rate – every 35 seconds!
In just one hour on a Friday night, 107 sponsored alcohol advertisements were displayed on a person’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.
“Over 100 alcohol ads in one hour demonstrates the relentlessness of digital alcohol marketing during the COVID-19 restrictions. Many of these ads promoted buying more alcohol and drinking alcohol to cope or ‘survive’ isolation and the pandemic,” Cancer Council WA’s Julia Stafford said.
Are we drinking too much?
We are not going to tell you yes or no. This isn’t our place.
But if your drinking is impacting your finances, your relationship, your health, your self-esteem, and/or your ability to be a good parent, then, yes, maybe it’s too much.
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation are concerned about how much Aussie parents are drinking, especially as parents are consuming alcohol in front of their kids. Their latest campaign, ‘You haven’t been drinking alone’ encourages parents to consider how their drinking may have changed during lockdown, the implications it may be having on their own health and, most importantly, how it may be influencing their children’s attitudes and behaviours.
What’s the norm?
Again, this depends on your situation. I know many people who come home from work every day and have two or three beers. I know others who only drink at the occasional birthday party or gathering.
According to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation CEO, Dr Erin Lalor AM,
“To reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related injury or disease such as cancer, the draft national guidelines recommend people consume no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than four standard drinks on any day.”
Any more than this, and you are putting your health at risk.
Putting an end to iso-drinking
Lockdown is coming to an end and most of us are able to escape our homes, go for a meal, and enjoy a picnic.
Soon the kids will be back at school and we won’t need to drink away the homeschooling dramas every afternoon. Their after-school activities will start again which means we’ll be chauffeuring them around rather than sitting at home, bored and with a bevy.
But will it change our habits? I guess we will have to wait and see.
Where to get help
Is alcohol a problem? If it’s harming you, or someone you know, it may be time to seek advice from a professional.
You can contact one of the many services available, speak to your GP, local health service or call / online chat with a helpline. There are a number of different free services with trained counsellors across Australia:
- Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636
- DrugInfo: 1300 858 584
- Family Drug Support Australia: 1300 368 186
- Youth Support + Advocacy Service: 1800 458 685
- Kids Helpline : 1800 551 800
- Parentline (QLD and NT): 1300 301 300
- Parentline WebChat: 8am – 9pm, 7 days/week
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- Lifeline text: 0477 131 114
- Alcohol Drug Information Service (ADIS): 1800 250 015