How old is too old to introduce your children to alcohol? This question has been posed by parents around the world for years, and you can understand why. After all, the last thing parents want is for their children to be exposed to alcohol, but these mothers and fathers also want to make sure their kids understand the monster they’re dealing with. (Knowledge is power, after all.) Still, what do you do when you find out your children are hanging out with people who like to drink (not a rarity in this country) or are curious about indulging? Obviously, you cannot panic or confront your child in an angry manner. You must put a lot of thought into how you can approach the big “alcohol conversation,” especially if you have an overly curious son or daughter. Here are some tips for how to handle your children’s knowledge of alcoholic drinks.
Health Risks for Children
For anyone under the age of 18, alcohol can affect the mind and body in unique ways, mostly because, in this age category, young adults, teens, and children are still undergoing cognitive and physical growth. Being a powerful drug, alcohol can put a damper on mental and physiological functions. Here are some common side effects:
- 15 years and older: Impeding the development of the brain, liver, bones, and other vital organs
- 15 years and older: Impeding the development and processing of hormones
- 14 years and younger: increased tendency towards developing violent behavior, suicidal thoughts, and attempts at suicide (and injuries related to alcohol use)
Rein in Your Kids
Based on this information alone, you should understand that alcohol is not something to take lightly, especially where your kids are involved. So, how soon is too soon to talk to them about it? Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- From the start, tell them that you completely disapprove of alcohol use in your house. Research indicates that if parents set up boundaries for alcohol, children are less likely to use it.
- Speak firmly but kindly to your children in a way that will not make them defensive.
- Tell them you are ready to answer any questions they have about alcohol and that you will help them if they are curious about it.
- Inform them about the rudimentary problems with alcohol, such as impaired judgement or unprotected sex (which can lead to terrible consequences down the road).
- Warn them about “spiked drinks” and give them information about how to avoid this tragedy.
- If your teen wants to try alcohol, tell them they are free to do so in your house under your rules, but continue to emphasize how dangerous it can be (calmly).
- Keep your eyes and ears open regarding your child’s plans for parties and hanging out with friends.
Seeking Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder
Although a nightly glass of wine might help prevent strokes or heart attacks, you must understand that alcohol has a high potential for abuse and addiction and should not be taken lightly. Make sure your children understand what they are dealing with so you can prevent future problems. Still, it is never too late to get help if you need it. If you are suffering from alcohol use disorder or have a friend or loved one who is enduring this same illness. get in touch with Asana Recovery today. Our professional team of counselors and healthcare experts are ready to walk you through every step of the rehabilitation process and guide you towards living a happier, healthier, and freer lifestyle.
If you are interested in one of our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how to overcome your alcohol abuse or addiction troubles today.