Just like the inevitable and oh-so-uncomfortable questions about the birds and the bees, at some point in time your child is probably going to become curious about alcohol.
With alcohol so widely used and enjoyed within our Australian society, it stands to reason that your child will probably have a few questions surrounding the topic. But for many parents, the prospect of discussing alcohol and drinking can be daunting.
When is the right time to have the talk? How do I discourage my child from drinking without looking like a hypocrite?
While there is no denying that talking to your kids about alcohol can be difficult, evidence has shown that open and honest discussion about alcohol between parents and their children can help them in developing a sensible relationship with drinking.
When Should I Start Talking to My Child About Alcohol?
While you may think that because your child is not drinking yet it is too soon to talk to them about alcohol, research shows that parents are the number one role model for their kids. So, start talking to your child about alcohol before they start drinking! Don’t forget - you do not need to cover everything at once. In fact, you are more likely to have a greater impact on your child’s decisions about drinking if you have a number of chats. So start talking about alcohol early whenever it seems relevant!
Answering the Tough Questions
It is important to remember there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to answering the tricky questions about kids and alcohol. Use what you feel comfortable with and adapt the advice to your own parenting style.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind though:
- If you do not answer their question, your child will probably go elsewhere and what they learn may not be helpful at all – in fact, it could even be harmful!
- You will not always have an answer and that is fine! It is perfectly ok to say “I don’t know” or “I haven’t thought about that yet”.
Here are some example answers to the tougher questions your child may have about alcohol that may help you think of your own.
What does alcohol taste like?
You could say: Wine tastes a bit like sour grape juice, cider like sour apple juice and beer can be bitter. Because taste buds change as you get older you might find alcohol doesn’t taste very nice.
Can I have some?
You could say: Alcohol isn’t very good for you as you are still growing! When you are older you can have a try.
Everyone is different and what works for one family may not necessarily work for another. Do your best to keep the lines of communication open and remember – honesty is always the best policy!
For more information and tips about talking to your child about alcohol visit the DrinkWise website.