Drug & Alcohol Awareness

Talking to your children about alcohol

Talking to your kids aged 9-14

Kids are interested in what’s going on around them and seeing how their role models use alcohol is part of this. So it’s important to start talking to your kids about alcohol. And the right time to start is right now.

Research shows that parents have the greatest impact on shaping their children’s attitude to alcohol and future drinking behaviour. The role alcohol plays in your life will have an effect on them too.

They might ask you about alcohol and what it’s like to drink it. Always answer honestly.

  • Talk to your child about alcohol and the importance of drinking in moderation. Explain what happens to the body when you drink too young and too much.
  • Set rules – the most important one being not to drink. Be sure to discuss this rule and agree on the consequences if not followed.
  • Teach them to say ‘no’ and that not everyone drinks.
  • Ask them how they feel about you drinking alcohol. What attitudes have they already formed about it? It will help you reflect on your own drinking behaviours and open up the lines of communication.

Talking to your kids aged 15-17

For some parents, talking to your teenager about alcohol and setting rules and boundaries to keep them safe, can be daunting. Many parents feel that it’s their responsibility to create strategies and educate their children on when, where and how to drink. However some parents can struggle with how to provide this guidance.

It’s vital that parents keep the lines of communication open through the teen years. Make sure you have frank discussions about alcohol.

  • Debunk some of the popular and unhelpful myths – e.g. not every parent provides their child with alcohol.
  • Be prepared. Teenagers will raise the topic of alcohol if and when they’re ready to talk. Be ready to have the conversation and address their queries – that’s when they’re most open to hear your advice. Remember to plan what you want to say to them ahead of time.
  • Be aware of your own role modelling when it comes to alcohol. Parents play a crucial role in shaping their children’s attitude and behaviours towards alcohol by being role models for their kids.

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