Problematisation of Parental Alcohol Abuse Related Harm to Children: The Results of Professionals’ Response


  • Ilona Tamutienė Vytautas Magnus University
  • Birutė Peištarė Vytautas Magnus University



alcohol abuse, parent, harm to children, professionals’ responses, problematization, alkoholis, grėsmė vaikams, tėvai, vaikai, ekspertų reakcija, problemos


Problematisations as taken-for-granted “truths” practices making it crucial to look at them critically and to draw attention to any potentially harmful consequences they may have. The main aim of this article is to examine how the issue of parental alcohol’s harm to children is problematised in the child protection and support processes in Lithuania. Data from 20 semi-structured interviews with key child welfare and protection experts were analysed using Bacchi’s problematisation approach strategy. Professionals think that parental intoxication is damaging to children, and because of the issues they perceive, most of their work is focused on measures to enhance parental behaviour. This approach to the problem distances professionals from the harm that children are experiencing. It is typical to remove children from intoxicated parents and re-unite them once the parents sober up. Professionals rely on their own moral principles and ideals, particularly the desire to maintain “family unity”. Long-term harm develops when children who need support are undervalued and neglected. Because child welfare practices focus on a small portion of the problems, the harm to the children’s personalities and development is not adequately addressed. Analyses showed that the problematisation of parental alcohol abuse-related harm to children by professionals impacts the presumed result, which is that children are the “visible but unprotected victims”. The professional field of problematisation of alcohol’s harm to children brought on by parental alcohol misuse must consider crucial elements such as understanding childhood trauma and its long-term effects on child development, knowing how to respond to it when it occurs, and understanding how to avoid harmful long-term consequences.