Talking to Your Kids About Alcohol

Did you know there’s evidence that children are more likely to be drinking underage if their parents drink to excess? What they see at home helps children think about how they might drink as an adult. So, just as children learn to walk and talk like their parents, they learn how to drink like them too.
Evidence shows that meaningful conversations between parents and their kids helps children develop a sensible relationship with alcohol. You can follow these simple tips to start the alcohol chat with your child:

• If you choose to drink alcohol, don’t feel hypocritical for doing so when you have told your children they can’t. Instead, explain that alcohol is only for adults because their bodies have finished growing, and even adults have rules about how much they can drink.
• Talk to your kids about how drinks come in different strengths and sizes and let them know what an alcohol unit is and how it’s measured.
• Children notice if their parents have different drinking patterns at special occasions or on holiday. To avoid confusing them, explain that usually you stick to the low risk unit guidelines.
• If you have guests at home, offer a choice of non-alcoholic and alcoholic
• Try to avoid talking about alcohol as a cure for stress e.g. “I’ve had a hard day, I really need a drink”.
• If you do decide to have a drink, try sticking to a small glass of something with your meal rather than as soon as you get through the door. Talk openly to your children about how alcohol makes you feel. Explain the after effects of alcohol the next day and let them know these effects would be worse for them as they’re smaller and their bodies are still developing. Try to avoid any conversations that glamorise your own or a friend’s drinking.

More information can be found in the leaflet Talking to your kids about alcohol  or by going to the Drinkaware website.

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