Why talk to your kids about alcohol?
There are plenty of good reasons why it's good to talk to your children about alcohol sooner rather than later. Read on...
Talk before they are teens and before their friends do
Knowing when to start talking to your child about alcohol can be tricky. Children’s attitudes to alcohol change as they grow up, particularly during the transition from primary to secondary school, so it’s a good idea to talk to them before the teen years and before their friends do. The earlier you start the conversation the better, even if they seem too young. And once you’ve started, it’s important to keep the conversation going. Giving your children the facts from an early age makes sure they have accurate information to understand or challenge what their friends tell them and make responsible drinking decisions when they are faced with them.
Children are aware of alcohol from a very young age
Research shows that children as young as seven understand about alcohol and its effects. From this age children can recognise drunkenness and addiction and can tell the difference between acceptable and unacceptable drinking behaviour. That’s why it’s important to start talking to them early about alcohol.
Influencing your children's attitudes towards alcohol
Sometimes it can seem like they don’t listen to a word you say, but research shows parents have the most influence on young children’s attitudes and behaviour towards alcohol.
Children and alcohol: it’s never too late
It might sound like a cliché but it’s never too late to start talking to your child about alcohol. Even if they’ve already started drinking it’s important to have open discussions about handling peer pressure, avoiding risky behaviour and how to stay safe.
Peer pressure and alcohol
As children get older they are more influenced by their friends and this can turn into pressure to drink. Prepare your kids for this by letting them know not everyone their age is drinking and they shouldn’t ever feel they have to drink to fit in. Despite the growing influence of their friends, you can still have a positive effect on your child’s behaviour and attitudes towards alcohol.
Talking to your kids about alcohol - no time like the present
80% of parents say they’ll “deal with it when it happens” when it comes to talking to their child about alcohol. But it’s best to talk about the risks associated with drinking before your child unknowingly puts themselves in a risky situation.
Will it encourage my children to drink if I talk to them about alcohol? The effect of talking to your children about alcohol
Although you might think school is the best place to learn about alcohol, alcohol education is not compulsory. So while alcohol may be mentioned in science classes, children might not get as much information as you think. Finding out what your child has learnt about alcohol at school, and discussing it in more depth at home, can be a good way to start a conversation about drinking.
Find out more about Drinkaware’s schools programme – www.intuitionkit.com
What are the different risks associated with your child drinking from a young age? Find out here...
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Page updated: April 2013
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