Attention role models
Have you ever thought about how your relationship with alcohol is seen though a child’s eyes? Being a positive role model now can help change the way kids approach alcohol later.
Who is a role model?
Kids love to mirror the behaviours of those they admire the most. They want their hair cut the same as Christiano Ronaldo, have the same technique as Serena Williams, or they might want to be just like dad. You might not be a sports star, but kids look up to those closest to them – and follow what they do.
Some children are having their ‘first sip’ too early, and preteens are drinking alcohol years before they are legally allowed to. Why? There are many factors involved, but watching the example of adults around them is one. When kids see their role-models drinking, they tend to want to follow suit.
Actions speak louder than words
It’s important to be mindful and aware of your own drinking behaviours. Telling kids they aren’t allowed to drink is one thing, but actually demonstrating responsible consumption is another.
By changing when, where and the amount of alcohol you drink in front of them you could:
- reduce underage drinking
- change the way they view alcohol
- see benefits to your own health.
As they inch towards their 18th birthday, it’s not uncommon for kids to take a few risks, push the boundaries and want to try new things.
Although they might be on a journey to self-discovery, it’s important that they hold off from having their first beer for as long as possible.
It can be easy to think that just one drink won’t hurt. But, the law is the law for a reason.
- it’s illegal to supply alcohol to minors
- alcohol impacts brain development
- young people are more sensitive to alcohol than adults
- underage drinking can have long term health impacts.
Preventing unhealthy behaviours
There isn’t a perfect way to delay kids from consuming alcohol.
But there are a few things you can do now to prevent underage drinking in the future:
- model the same behaviours you expect from them.
- talk more, like having meaningful conversations around the dinner table together
- keep tabs where they are and get to know their friends
- set clear expectations and boundaries at home
- let them know that no question is a stupid question – they can ask you anything!
Everyone can play a role in preventing a young person from drinking alcohol before they are legally allowed to. What behaviours can you change to help reduce underage drinking?
For more information and to view references, visit the Alcohol and Drug Foundation website.