Being a parent comes with tremendous joy and happiness – but also comes with responsibility to raise a child that is well-educated and self-sufficient. There are many bumps and bruises along the way, however, open communication with your child can help you tackle some of the more difficult subjects, such as alcohol.
Many parents feel that talking to their child about alcohol is one of the more emotional subjects, not quite sure exactly how to talk about alcohol and making sensible choices. The basis of how to talk to your child about alcohol is to put it in proper perspective. Alcoholic beverages are consumed by more than two-thirds of the American population, and most do so with no difficulty. Below are some helpful tips on how you can start the conversation with your child:
- Start the conversation at an early age with your child. If your six-year-old asks what you are drinking, tell them. When your twelve-year-old asks why do you drink, tell them. You need to convey that alcohol is a normal part of life and with responsibility it can provide pleasure during a good conversation or compliment a great meal. Your child needs to understand this and that drinking alcohol is not the end all – be all.
- Actions speak louder than words, so be a good role model. Children observe their parents from a very young age, therefore, it is important that your drinking behavior and attitude portray one of responsibility. Do not place too much emphasis on drinking, but do not hide it either.
- Give your child the facts. Do not try to scare them by presenting alcohol or drinking as an evil. Children have many sources where they will receive information, and it is best that they get the truth straight from you. When you present the facts about the immediate consequences or effects of alcohol, it will tend to have a more profound effect on them. There are many free sources of information that can provide you with the facts to present to your child.
- Be open with your child and share your opinion and beliefs about alcohol and drinking. Once your child has all the facts, they will be more open to hear your thoughts. This will also make it easier for you to enforce any guidelines or rules you put in place regarding alcohol when your child becomes a teen.
Even if you do not drink, it is important that your child understand alcohol and how to be responsible. Practicing good parenting by communicating with your child is a great responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly. This open communication about alcohol will help your child make decisions later based on the values and beliefs you have discussed with them. Encourage an open atmosphere for all communication.