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Kids and Alcohol just don’t mix
Alcohol is not just bad for the brain it’s dangerous too.
Science and Research
The average Australian starts drinking alcohol at age 15.5 years.
More than a quarter of our 14 – 19 year olds are putting themselves at risk of alcohol related harm at least once a month.
We know alcohol can disrupt teenage brain development, potentially leading to learning, memory and psychological problems.
Experts suggest it is best to minimise alcohol intake until the brain has finished developing – around age 23.
Research now tells us:
- From around 12 years the teenage brain is in a state of intense development
- Drinking alcohol during these younger years disrupts brain development during this critical phase of growth
- Teenagers who drink alcohol risk their brains not reaching full capacity
- Learning difficulties, memory impairment and emotion problems like depression and anxiety can result from the early consumption of alcohol
Safety & Other Issues
Besides being a health hazard for the brain teenage drinking is also dangerous.
Alcohol inhibits the ability to consider consequences of actions.
Reckless risk taking potentially may mean:
- drink driving
- getting into fights
- unwanted sex
- swimming accidents
- motor vehicle accidents
As a parent you want your child/ren to grow to be a happy, healthy adult.
The best way to help your child/ren is to delay drinking.
Delaying your child’s first drink, means expressing expectations regarding alcohol, not only to your child but to other adult influences in their lives.
TIPS ON HOW TO DELAY YOUR CHILD’S DRINKING
- Maintain a good parent-child relationship
- Listen and Engage
- Develop Rules together
Maintain a Good Parent-Child Relationship
Keep the lines of communication open between you.
Get to know your child/ren’s friends and their parents.
Parent-child relationships characterized by emotional warmth and support, trust, involvement and attachment are associated with lower levels of adolescent alcohol misuse.
Be there to support your child/ren through hormonal changes, school commitments and as peer influence builds.
Listen and Engage
Allow your kids the freedom to express themselves.
Encourage children to speak openly with you by recognising how they feel or what they are experiencing from their perspective, not your own.
This will broaden your awareness of where they are at and give you the opportunity to have an influence over the decisions your child/ren make as they entrust into you and the bond between you strengthens.
Remember you were once their age. Think when and who gave you your first drink. Be mindful of that similar person/influence in your child’s life and perhaps it is appropriate to have a chat with that person.
Discuss and Educate
Discuss issues with your kids.
Seek to find out what your child’s views are and that of their friends he/she is associating with. Talk about the perception that goes along with teens drinking alcohol and how this may relate with future life goals and career plans.
Be aware that young people may have a favourable perception of social benefits of drinking, believing it will help them fit in.
Let your kids know that drinking is not the norm for young people. In fact two thirds of 12 – 15 year olds have never had a drink of alcohol.
Talk about the health and safety risks involved with drinking, even being around heavy or binge drinkers and the possible effects on living out dreams if they are harmed. How this would affect them and the ones they love.
Reinforce a positive future for them with hope and belief in achieving their dreams.
Make the time to watch your child/ren’s behaviour and lifestyle and keep your mind aware of possible stresses and pressures that may create reason for “finding an out”.
Continually encourage your child/rent to speak with you about stress and other pressures that may be concerning them from time to time.
Develop Rules and Consequences Together
A wonderful strategy to use when parenting is to permit children to contribute to the making of rules and the consequences when rules are broken. This strategy can be utilized at varying stages of a child’s development obviously relative to age appropriate situations and responsibilities.
Children gain a sense of independence and learn responsibility if they are involved in the process of discussion, brain storming and choice.
Empowering young people to be confident in their choices is one of the most precious gifts a parent can pass on to their child/ren.
Be a Positive Role Model
Consume alcohol responsibly.
Perhaps alcohol is reserved for special occasions and most definitely always in moderation in their presence.
Talk with your child about the rules and boundaries in your household regarding alcohol.
For more information visit
Grim23 at en.wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons