CNBNewsnet (November 24, 2018--The Health Service Executive in Ireland has issued a stark warning to parents who encourage their underage kids to drink at home. Whilst many progressive parents believe it’s sensible to introduce their kids to alcohol in a safe, inclusive environment, experts say that exposing children to alcohol at a young age can increase the likelihood that a child will develop a full-blown addiction later in life.
It has become increasingly acceptable to offer children alcoholic drinks in the home. Parents often assume that allowing their child to drink small amounts at home is a good thing. They think it teaches their child to drink responsibly. In fact, this is far from the truth.
Drinking is Socially Acceptable
Being exposed to alcohol in the home gives the child a message that drinking outside the home is perfectly acceptable. Experts say this makes a child far more likely to drink ‘in a harmful manner’.
Children who smoke cannabis at a young age are four times more likely to have an addiction problem by their mid-twenties. The same is true for alcohol. Alcohol, like cannabis, has a damaging effect on the adolescent brain. It affects their cognitive development, behavior, and coping mechanisms. Children who start drinking in their teens are far more likely to develop mental health problems in later life. Ideally, a child shouldn’t be introduced to alcohol until they are at least 18-years-old.
Set a Positive Example
Alcohol is a socially acceptable drug of choice for many parents. Most adults wouldn’t openly admit to taking opioids to counter stress, but many parents think nothing of opening a bottle of wine when they get home after a stressful day. This sends out completely the wrong message to children. If you use alcohol to self-medicate for stress and emotional upset, you are teaching your kids that it’s OK to do the same.
As a parent, you are the most influential person in your child’s life. It is very important that you set appropriate boundaries. This includes having an appropriate relationship with alcohol and making sure that your kids understand that drinking is not acceptable. It is very hard to do this if you self-medicate with alcohol and regularly drink to excess when your kids are around.
Be honest about your relationship with alcohol. If you suspect you have a problem, now is a good time to deal with it. If you regularly drink to excess, check out the cost of outpatient alcohol treatment so you can get the help you need to stay sober and be a better parent.
Be prepared to meet some resistance if your kids are accustomed to drinking in the home. It is very important that you have a conversation about alcohol and the risks associated with alcohol abuse. The national opioid crisis may garner the most headlines, but alcohol claims far more lives in the US.
There is No Safe Limit
Many states are lowering the alcohol limit for driving in a bid to curb problem drinking. If you live in Utah, the limit is now 0.05, so maybe now is a good time to cut your alcohol consumption.