Introducing Children to Alcohol
What to do if other parents have different views on alcohol
Every family is different. When it comes to alcohol there are no two families who will have exactly the same views and rules when dealing with the issues of drinking alcohol. In fact, parents in the same household can have very different opinions on the subject of alcohol.
Some parents believe that introducing children to alcohol early, such as providing alcohol with a meal in a family setting is appropriate, and others supply their teenager with alcohol to take to parties. What rules and boundaries you decide to set as a parent is your business, but whatever your decision, you need to make it based on good quality information and not pressure from your child, their friends and their friends’ parents.
Parents are the most important role models and strongest influence on their children, but sometimes the relationship can break down between a parent and child, particularly teens. Unfortunately, when the parents’ voice is weakened, the peer voice and its influence become stronger. It’s an issue that many families face. The best time to get the relationships right is before the tumultuous teens when alcohol could become a problem.
Some adults believe that it is safe to introduce alcohol to their child at this age with an occasional sip of a light beer or a small glass of watered down wine. Regardless of what others believe, it is important you ensure your friends and relatives understand your views on pre-teens and alcohol, as well as to respect your decisions when it comes to exposing your children to alcohol, or permitting your children to drink.
- Talk to other parents about your attitudes to alcohol. Make sure other parents and family members know your views on the subject of alcohol. Explain that it is important to you that alcohol is consumed in a responsible way around your children. They may think you’re over-reacting at this stage in your child’s life, however at this time, remember your child is learning so much from observing adult behaviour.
- If you discover that someone has broken the rules that you have set for your child around alcohol, don’t be afraid to let them know that you disapprove. If they have different rules for their children, that is their business, but your rules should be respected and undermining you is simply unacceptable.