Age 7. This is the point in a child’s life where he or she is capable of recognizing the many effects of alcohol use. It is the juncture in which children begin formulating opinions and attitudes toward alcohol that could last a lifetime. For these reasons, it is crucial for you as a parent to sit down and talk to your kids about alcohol. Here are a few quick tips courtesy of KidsHealth.org on getting the conversation started with your child.
Pick the Right Moments
Around age 7, it is important to pick the right moments to talk to your child about alcohol. When you see a billboard for an alcoholic beverage or a character in a movie drinking alcohol, it might be an appropriate time to initiate the conversation.
It is important to utilize a calm tone during these talks. Don’t overwhelm your child with stern directives, and try to explain things in terms they can understand. Also, try to be as specific as possible when talking to them about alcohol. Explain how this substance can make people feel and discuss the health risks associated with using it.
Ask What They Think
Ages 8-12 serve as a prime age to begin having an open-ended discussion about the matter. Ask your child what they think about alcohol and let them speak without interruption. Even if he or she doesn’t have much to say, it will still cause them to think critically about alcohol and its effects. Once again, use pop-cultural references to spark this conversation. If alcohol use is mentioned in the news or displayed in a TV commercial, it might be a good time to broach the subject.
Educate and Set Rules
When your child reaches ages 13-17, he or she more than likely has friends in their life who have drank alcohol or currently do so. At this point, it is important to start the rigorous part of the education process. Demonstrate the perils of drunk driving and the health risks of abusing alcohol. Your child is now old enough to absorb the gravity of these issues, and they are more likely to respond to this information.
It is also important to realize that your child is now at the age where his or her friends are learning to drive. So it is extremely important to closely monitor your child’s vehicle privileges to ensure neither they, nor their friends are driving under the influence. KidsHealth.org specifically encourages it’s readers to establish a written contract with their children setting ground rules for using the family car.
While it is important for anyone to talk proactively about alcohol with their children, it is especially crucial for former addicts to do so. Former addicts have a lot more ground to cover than the average parent. Those in this category should discuss the genetic predisposition their child might have toward alcohol addiction, and mention any family history that points to alcohol abuse.
Your child will thank you for this information later in life as it will teach them about their physical and learned relationships with drinking alcohol. It may even prevent them from following the same patterns of alcohol abuse that their parents took earlier in life.
If you struggle from alcohol addiction or need help discussing the matter with your child, please contact one of our qualified, compassionate counselors today. We can provide proper guidance or forward you to an appropriate source to help you through such issues. (877) 383-2284