Many Connecticut parents may think they do not need to discuss alcohol with their kids until the children are ready to enter high school. However, underage drinking is not something parents should take lightly, and it is a good idea for them to talk about alcohol early on so their kids fully understand the potential dangers.
While some parents may think their teenager will not touch liquor, they may be surprised to learn that many adolescents have their first drink when they are well below the legal drinking age. The Washington Post says that by the time kids are 13 years old, 21% of them have tried alcohol. Additionally, by the time adolescents finish high school, almost 80% report alcohol use. While some parents may expect high school students to try alcohol, they might not realize how young some kids are when they have their first drink. One committee of pediatricians has suggested that children may try liquor when they are fairly young because of the advertisements they see about alcoholic beverages. This is because these advertisements may cause adolescents to have a more positive attitude toward alcohol.
Because children get exposed to alcohol at relatively young ages, it is a good idea for parents to talk about responsible drinking early on. According to Kids Health, some parents may want to discuss liquor with their kids when their children are as young as eight years old. This is because parents can usually still influence the way a child thinks when he or she is between the ages of 8 and 11. Parents may want to keep these conversations relatively casual and ask their child what he or she thinks about kids their age using alcohol. This can be a good conversation starter to see what adolescents already know and find out what they think about the subject. It is a good idea to have these discussions early on so that parents can use their son or daughter’s teenage years to reinforce lessons they have already learned.
Some parents may want to discuss liquor when their children are younger than eight. It might be a good idea to ask kids between the ages of four and seven what they think about some alcohol commercials. Instead of talking about the dangers of underage drinking, though, parents may want to talk to their kids about the importance of good health. Parents might want to tell their child about the way liquor can alter a person’s perceptions or how it can cause headaches. This allows them to open up a conversation about alcohol in an age-appropriate manner.