This article considers the significance of family context for intergenerational drinking practices. Socialisation approaches to drinking behaviours assume that people carry forward actions and ideals that are developed in formative settings during childhood, particularly the family, community or school. In this article, we consider how a more active interpretation of time as a creative force can challenge the deterministic principles of family socialisation. We consider how parents use their own childhood experiences of drinking not necessarily as a blueprint of how they should act towards their own children, but as accounts of how not to act and how they are able to reverse their childhood experiences. Our account of drinking across generations is based on an analysis of 21 biographical interviews with parents of teenage children and considers how their childhood experiences of alcohol and drinking influence their own parental strategies when regulating their children’s exposure to alcohol.
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