Gone are the days when alcohol was consumed for celebrations on important occasions like marriages and child birth. These days basically 90 percent of alcohol consumption is for fun. It has come to an extent that holding a party without alcohol is something unheard of. But what many parents should consider is what the effects of alcohol and bringing up children are.
Many parents would do anything to avoid their children consuming alcohol when underage. But the question is how would they do that when they themselves are drinkers? Below are some suggestions that may lessen the likelihood of your child misusing alcohol.
As a parent use alcohol moderately, do not communicate to your child that alcohol is a good way to handle problems. For example do not come home from work and say “I had a rotten day. I need a drink”. Let your child see that you have other healthier ways to cope with stress, such as exercise, listening to music, talking things over or seeking divine intervention. Do not tell your children stories about your own drinking in a way that conveys the message that alcohol use is funny or glamorous.
Never drink and drive or ride in a car with a drunken driver especially with kids. When entertaining other adults, serve alcohol with plenty of food. If anyone drinks too much make sure arrangements are made to get them home safely. This will teach the kids about “responsible entertainment”
Ask your young teen what they know about alcohol and what they think about teen drinking. Listen carefully without interrupting. Not only will this approach help your child feel heard and respected, but it can serve as a natural “lead-in” to discussing alcohol topics.
Discuss the dangers of alcohol/drug consumption and bring out facts on teen deaths in motor crashes, sexual assault and unprotected sex. Point out how alcohol impairs judgment since alcohol affects young people differently than adults due to the fact that their brain is still maturing. This may lead to long-lasting intellectual effects and may increase the likelihood of developing alcohol dependence later in life.
Educate your kids on the “magic potion” Myth. The media’s glamorous portrayal of alcohol encourages many teens to believe that drinking will make them “cool” popular, attractive and happy. You can combat these dangerous myths by watching TV shows and movies with your child and discussing how alcohol is portrayed in them. Teens only tend to pick the “cool” stuff from movies but you can undo that by pointing out cases where alcohol brings out feelings of sadness or anger rather than carefree high spirits.
Help your teen say NO to peer pressure. Its not enough to tell your teen to avoid alcohol , you also need to help her figure out how. What can your daughter or son say when she/he goes to a party and a friend offers them alcohol? Brainstorm with your teen for ways that he or she might handle these and other difficult situations. An example is you can assure your child that if he finds himself/herself in “fix” situation he/she can call you and there will be no scolding or punishment.