Advice for Parents: Child Intoxication
What to do when your child has come home drunk
If a child of this age has come home intoxicated, you have a problem that needs to be dealt with quickly. All children are vulnerable to the detrimental effects of alcohol, but the younger they are the worse it is. Not only can their drinking seriously affect their young and fragile brain development, they are putting their health and lives at great risk.
For a child of this age it may be unusual behaviour, however it can occasionally occur when young people have access to alcohol and try to copy adult behaviour. Whilst this can lead to tragic outcomes, you anticipate that it never happen again if they recover from an intoxicated experience.
Action at this point needs to be firm and decisive. Getting angry and worrying about where you went wrong won’t help the situation. You need to be positive and look for solutions rather than laying blame. Reaffirming guidelines and rules.
However, if this has happened more than once and this is just part of a pattern of other risky behaviour, it is recommended you seek professional help to assist you with your child’s behaviour.
- Seek professional help: Speak to your GP about the problem and ask for a referral to a health professional who has expertise in this area. This may be a child, adolescent or clinical psychologist. You could also talk to the school counsellor and let them know you need help.
- Find out what is going on: If this is just part of a pattern of behaviour you need to find out what is happening with your child to lead to this occurring. It is important to be aware that this is not typical pre-teen behaviour. The vast majority of kids of this age have no interest in drinking alcohol, let alone drinking to get drunk. Don’t fool yourself to think that this is ‘just a stage’ and that all young people go through it.
- Set clear boundaries: Make your expectations regarding alcohol very clear and if rules are broken, be consistent with following through on agreed consequences.