Boys will be boys and Girls will be girls. Every parent wants the best for theirs but there are competing interests out there attracting their attention. Once and if alcohol becomes a part of a teenager’s life it is vital that it does so in a structured, healthy manner. We must be sure not to focus on youth drinking as the problem when in fact problem drinking spans right across gender and age patterns.
Of course this is not the full story and we are aware of much younger children drinking alcohol on a regular basis.Other surveys suggest that over 1/3 of Irish 15-16 year olds engaging in “binge” drinking at least three times a month. This makes it the highest in the EU for that age group.
Whether we like it or not parents are the key to curbing teenagers’ harmful and potentially problematic drinking habits, according to the chief medical officer of the UK. He is very clear that no child under 15 should be drinking at all, and any child aged 15 to 17, if drinking, should be doing so infrequently and under the supervision of a parent or carer. Educational intervention can play a key role in helping.
However before parents and guardians lay down the law they need to be acutely aware that the example they set is one that won’t be seen as hypocritical by the younger folk.
We suggest you all take the “on-line screening” test separately and or indeed with your children and make sure you have an accurate assessment of your own drinking.
Then it is suggested that parents and guardians:-
- Take a tough line with regard to alcohol to hinder problems developing later.
- Discourage as unacceptable unsupervised drinking, drink parties, and clandestine drinking.
- Lead by example and set a family code around alcohol.
- Print off this leaflet and go through it with the children.
- Affirm low-volume drinking and non-drinking.
- Challenge the happy clappy nature of how alcohol is presented in ads.
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© alcoholresponse.com 2010