Most Australian parents think nothing of a couple of glasses of wine to relax in the evening or a nice cold beer after a hard day at work but now new research shows that drinking alcohol in front of your children regularly can contribute to binge drinking later in life
The problem doesn’t seem to be with the occasional drink. Children of European parents are introduced to alcohol quite early in life and even encouraged to sample it. They aren’t the ones going on the become binge drinkers. The ‘trigger’ seems to be the link between alcohol and mood, such as mummy drinking wine to relax in the evening or dad drinking a beer as a reward for working hard. When parents drink alcohol like this they are teaching children that alcohol is some sort of antidote for stress, fatigue, hardship...that’s where the real danger lies.
DrinkWise Australia is an independent, not-for-profit organisation focused on promoting change towards a healthier and safer drinking culture in Australia. In June 2008 they released the Kids Absorb Your Drinking campaign. They are calling for a generational change in attitudes to alcohol and the critical element of change is parents changing their own drinking behaviour and attitudes to alcohol.
Be a positive role model, use alcohol responsibly. KIDS ABSORB YOUR DRINKING, so watch your own alcohol consumption and remember that there is the option of not drinking alcohol at all. If alcohol does play a role in your family life, talk to your child about how you use alcohol responsibly and the rules and boundaries you follow.
Try not to make every family gathering or celebration focus around alcohol. Make a point of having alcohol-free events to demonstrate to your children that you can enjoy yourself without alcohol
DrinkWise also recommends parents having a chat about alcohol and it's effects at around the age of 10, before peer pressure can lead to experimentation. This seems young but kids as young as 11 and drinking alcohol. They need to understand the consequences.
Still not convinced?
An extensive two-year-long research think tank by Demos has shown it's not enough for parents to wait until their children are in bed to enjoy some wine because "children are more aware than they are often given credit for.”
They added: “Nor does this mean that parents can never drink in the presence of their children. But it does mean that parents should bear in mind how frequently they are drinking – particularly in front of their children.”