Talking about alcohol with your kids
Having a serious chat with kids can be tricky at the best of times. However, experts agree that it’s useful for young people to have a basic understanding of what alcohol is from as early as eight years old. Although they haven’t tried alcohol, it’s important to start talking about it.
Bringing up the topic of alcohol shouldn’t be scary for them or you. You’re really just teeing-up for an ongoing conversation as they grow up.
There is no right or wrong way to having the ‘chat’. So, it’s important to follow your instinct.
If you aren’t sure where to start or what to cover off, here are a few pointers:
Get the facts
- Find resources relevant to their age group. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Use existing resources to help explain the harms and effects of alcohol so that they can clearly understand what you are trying to say.
Set clear expectations
- Explain why there are rules but relate it to their age-group. You could explain how drinking alcohol can impact the way they play sport, focus at school and talk to their friends.
- Let them know your thoughts on alcohol and other drugs, and the types of behaviour you expect from them.
Talk about it
- Have informal conversations around the dinner table.
- Relate the discussion to an upcoming party or topics on the news so they don’t feel uncomfortable.
- Ask a few questions first to see how much they already know about alcohol. You never know where they got their facts from, so you might have to bust a few myths!
- See if they have any questions for you.
- Find out what they think about alcohol and try to understand it from their perspective.
- Talk about what they would do if they were in a situation where they were offered alcohol. This will show if they understand the potential harms and effects of alcohol.
For more information and to view references, visit the Alcohol and Drug Foundation website.