Talking to Children about Drinking and Alcoholism

Part of your role as a caring parent will involve sitting down with your children and having some meaningful discussions with them about various matters including the dangers of drinking and alcoholism. Although the discussion may prove awkward for some parents, it is an essential discussion, which should be done sooner rather than later. Read on for some tips on talking to children about drinking and alcoholism that will make the conversation both effective and comfortable for both you and your child.

It is important when talking to your child about drinking and alcohol that you use language that is both applicable to their age and is easy for them to understand. For instance, you would not explain the dangers of drink driving or binge drinking to an eight-year-old child in the same manner as you would to a sixteen-year-old teenager.

It is quite possible that your children will already be learning about the dangers of drink and drugs from their elementary school teachers but it is equally important that you as a parent also teach your kids to stay away from alcohol, especially while underage.

Even if you sit down with your children for a serious chat about why they should not drink, it does not hurt to mention the dangers of drink and drugs in casual conversation. For instance, you may see a program or commercial on television that prompts a short discussion. Alternatively, if your youngster is interested in sports, team enrolment time may be an ideal opportunity to remind them to stay alcohol-free. You do not need to go out of your way to bring the subject up but you will find that in certain situations, you will be able to naturally weave it into certain conversations.

Their peers will increasingly influence your children as they grow older and although they may have never shown any interest in alcohol previously, pressure from friends in school may increase their curiosity about drinking. High school is the time that many youngsters begin the downward spiral into alcoholism, a dependence that could change their lives for the worst.

As they get older, your children will also be in a number of social settings such as parties and other gatherings where alcohol could be available to them, making the temptation to drink even stronger. At this stage of their lives, it is important for you to impress on your kids that the decision not to drink should be made by them and not just to please you. This way you can be confident that your children will not drink to impress other people and will surround themselves with friends who feel the same way.

Another important aspect to make you children aware of is the fact that many people, both young and old, who are alcoholics, will not admit that they have a drink problem and will try to convince others of the same. Warn your kids about taking drinks from strangers and/or acquaintances and the dangers of getting into a vehicle with anyone who has been drinking. If your children make the decision to stay alcohol-free based on the information you have given them, it is more likely that they will make the right decision when you are not around.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, make it clear to your kids that you are willing to talk with them, not at them, whenever they have questions about alcohol or drugs. Ensuring that they find it easy to talk to you about anything that is on their mind will make things a lot easier for both parties. If they are curious about drinking, they will talk to you about it first and ask for your advice before trying it on their own. If your kids know that alcoholism is a serious problem that can take years to break free from, they will choose to live healthier and happier lives as a result.
 

Updated: 5 March 2017 — 6:24 am
© 2016 Childrens Health