Last month, I brought up the topic of underage drinking. You can click to read but I talked about a boy from my high school who passed away at age 18 from alcohol poisoning. That was my first time becoming aware of how dangerous alcohol could really be.
Kids today are starting even younger than they did when I was growing up, and it’s so crucial to have a discussion with your children before external influences have them forming their own opinions. Kids are actually the most receptive to parents’ input between the ages of 8 and 11 so while it may feel early, it’s never too early to start.
We’ve always touched on the dangers of drinking in our family. My husband and I both like to drink socially, and I have been very sensitive to the fact that our children witness that. Drinking looks fun! And as forty-something parents we know how to drink responsibly, but how are our kids to learn this lesson? From us.
We’ve had a lot of talks with both of our boys (ages 14 & 11) about it. It wasn’t one big discussion but something we’ve had as an ongoing conversation over the years. I regularly tell them that while I make drinking wine look fun, there’s a responsibility that comes with it.
Whenever we have these talks, they both still adamantly maintain that they think it seems gross and that they would never do it. But weve discussed how opinions change as you get older, and that serious repercussions can result from drinking before you are 21. My 14-year-old has had more questions recently like why adults do drink. He mentioned he is definitely becoming more aware of peers around him trying or talking about trying alcohol. He knows this is unacceptable which I think is a win for our parenting discussions!
My younger son (11) acted more like why do we need to have this conversation, Mom? Of course I will never drink ew! I feel like having a conversation with him at this age is a good way of laying the groundwork the foundation that will be instilled in his mind as he does age and as peer pressure does start to become an issue. I also love that we can all be so frank about it its my hope that when /if there ever is a situation for either of my boys where alcohol is present that they can 1) obviously say no with confidence, but 2) be able to talk to us about it when it does happen, as that ongoing discussion is so key.
Staggering fact: 1-in-3 kids has tried alcohol before age 8. And 7 out of 10 parents dont keep their alcohol secure.
Many parents think alcohol isn’t something to be concerned with at this point – we have so many other things to worry about at this age! But underage drinking – even a little sip at an early age – can open the door for future riskier behaviors.
And besides the fact that underage drinking can cause major issues like drunk driving and poor decisions, it’s also a huge health risk to children who are still growing.
Have you talked with your kids yet? Please click to learn more about the Know When. Know How Campaign.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.