Summer’s here and the school holidays are just around corner…and for older children who are independent and able to keep themselves occupied without parents, boredom and extra time spent with friends can mean getting up to mischief.
For many teens, alcohol will pay a role in that mischief. According to statistics, the average age that children start drinking is 14 years of age. So how do you teach children about alcohol and drinking safely?
1. Lead by example
If your is a family that openly has alcohol in the home, you’ll need to set an example to your children. The occasional celebratory glass is one thing, but drinking heavily every night will teach your children that this is acceptable behaviour.
2. Teach them the facts before their peers
Teaching children about alcohol facts means that they have the right information before they get into any mischief, and they’ll be equipped to make sensible decisions when out with their peers.
Research shows that children as young as seven years understand about alcohol and its effects. Even at this young age, they can recognise that a person is drunk or has an alcohol addiction and can also recognise what is and isn’t acceptable drinking behaviour, so you can never start too early.
3. Will it fall on deaf ears?
According to charity Drinkaware (www.drinkaware.co.uk), parents have the most influence on young children’s attitudes and behaviour towards alcohol. They will listen to you and talk to you if you open the dialogue in a relaxed and nurturing manner. Encourage them to share their thoughts with you without being judgemental, a d they’ll soon open up to you. This is then a good opportunity to demystify the truths from the fictions so that your child is well equipped to make sensible choices later on.
4. First sips
Some families allow their child to take a sip of alcohol during family celebrations, for example, so that they don’t feel left out, but this can send mixed messages to your child about drinking.
While it may not be illegal, the UK chief medical officers do recommend that underage children (i.e. under 18 years if age) do not drink at all. This is because their bodies are so small, that alcohol can be harmful.
If you would like to find out more about drinking, and protecting your children from the effects of alcohol, visit www.drinkaware.co.uk.
This post is sponsored