Why It’s Important
It is important that from a young age children know that they can come to you to discuss anything. As they start to notice that you are drinking something different to them which they are not allowed, they will become curious. They may wonder why people drink and why it can have such a big effect on some, it’s important that they hear of the dangers sooner rather than later.
If your children haven’t asked you about alcohol it might be because they haven’t got questions. But they may just assume it’s something you won’t feel comfortable talking about, so approaching them and asking if they have any questions may take the pressure off them.
Don’t forget they learn about alcohol from different places – the media, friends, family. When they have questions, they need to know you will answer them.
However, this shouldn’t be a one time conversation, they may have more questions to ask as they get older. When children feel they can come to you about anything and you’ll listen with respect and answer to the best of your ability they’ll stay close and come to you more often.
Although some parents may believe that giving their teens a small amount of alcohol will give them a more responsible attitude, research shows that the earlier a child starts the greater the risk of developing alcohol-related problems in later life.
The worrying potential effect of drinking alcohol at a young age is damage to the brain, since it is still developing. The Chief Medical Officer has reported concerns that heavy drinking at under twenty years old is associated with abnormalities in brain areas dealing with motivation, reasoning and interpersonal interactions.