Talking to your children about alcohol is a good way to prevent alcohol misuse. Alcohol is part of British culture and one day your child will have to make a decision whether or not they want to drink. The more information they have before they make that decision the better placed they will be to take a responsible attitude towards drinking.
When talking to your child, be sure that you make it into a conversation where you will listen and consider their thoughts and feelings on the consumption of alcohol, as it is important to value their opinions.
When talking to your child about alcohol you should always keep it factual and as current as possible by not only referring to alcohol related damage which may happen when they are 40 – although it is important to refer to long term damage too. To a 16-year-old the age of 40 seems like a time that will never come. They may also think that drinking alcohol at a young age won’t have any effect on them and that it is something they can worry about later on. Instead raise the issues of alcohol that will concern them now, such as how they look, feel and appear in front of their peers. These could include the effects of binge drinking, the strengths of different drinks and safety issues.
Many children grow up seeing their parents drinking alcohol and sometimes witnessing excessive use and drunkeness. The example that we give our children is a very powerful one – if children grow up seeing responsible use that can have a lasting effect. In our families and in society we need to think about the example that we give to young people.