The survey was to launch a national campaign to raise awareness of the issues around children and alcohol, and to encourage parents to talk to their children and be aware of their influence as role models.
An ICM poll of 1,000 parents and their children found that 42% had seen one of their parents drunk, while 29% said they had seen their parents drunk on more than one occasion.
At the same time, 72% of parents said they felt very confident in talking to their children about drinking, and three-quarters said they would be the best-placed people to do so.
But Drinkaware warned that by letting their children see them drunk, they could be sending out mixed messages about what is normal or acceptable behaviour.
Chief executive Elaine Hindal said: “While setting rules about alcohol and speaking to children about the risks is a positive step, equally important is that parents understand their significant influence as role models and feel confident to set a good example.
“Children are aware of alcohol from a young age. Estimates suggest that around one in three children under 16 in the UK live with an adult binge-drinker, and studies show that the odds of a teenager getting drunk double if they have seen their parents drunk – even if only on a few occasions. Understanding the impact of what parents say as well as what they do is important, as both can shape children’s attitudes towards alcohol.”
The charity is working with Mumsnet for part of the campaign, and offers parents tips and tools for giving age-appropriate advice to their children and to monitor their own drinking on its website, drinkaware.co.uk.