On average, boys first try alcohol at age 11, girls at 13. Teens who start drinking before the age 15 are five times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life than those who begin drinking at or after the legal age of 21.
Now most children are ‘back at school’ it is an ideal time to think about our behaviour and attitudes
Parents have the biggest influence on their kids and their attitude towards alcohol.
So, what is that? What does that look like? Do you place an importance or need on alcohol? Do you drink excessively or binge drink around your kids? Do you use alcohol as a solution to a rough day or as an escape? Do you justify your drinking?
Read the full open letter to parents by Allison Hudson in the Huffington Post here
Here are our tips for parents
Top tips on talking to your children about alcohol
Children are aware of alcohol from an earlier age than you might think. So don’t
be tempted to think that your own child is too young to know about alcohol.
You should certainly be talking about it by the time your child makes the move
to secondary school.
Be prepared to talk openly about your own attitude to alcohol, how much you
drink and why you drink. Your child is bound to want to talk about this.
Look for openers
The effects of alcohol often pop up in news stories, films and soaps. These all
offer opportunities for talking about alcohol in your home. Or why not broach
the topic in an everyday situation such as giving your child a lift in the car?
Don’t forget to listen
Try asking your child what they understand about alcohol rather than telling
them what you know. Get a conversation going. If there are questions you don’t
know the answers to, look them up together with your child.
Your child has to cope with many issues as they grow up. Try to get in the habit
of talking with your child about all of them – including alcohol.
Pick your moment
If your child has drunk alcohol, pick your moment to talk to them about it. It’s
not a good idea to talk to your child about alcohol when they’re drunk or have a
hangover. Wait until they are in a receptive mood.
Similarly, if your child is drinking alcohol, set some clear limits to the use of
alcohol by your child and let them know why you are doing it. Explain what,
when and how much you think it is appropriate for them to drink. Involve them
in a discussion so they know you’ve taken their views into account. Then stick
consistently to the rules you’ve set.