Foodie Friday: How To Talk To Your Kids About Alcohol

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and while a glass of wine can be good for your heart health, more than one drink a day for women, or two drinks a day for men, is not considered healthy.

And drinking is considered especially risky for teens. The time to begin talking about alcohol and its risks is well before high school. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends starting a conversation with your young teen by asking what he or she knows about alcohol and what he or she thinks about teen drinking. Be a good listener. Don’t interrupt and ask open-ended follow-up questions. Make sure your child feels heard and respected.

But also look for opportunities to correct some of the misinformation about alcohol that is floating around among teens. Here are some important facts to convey:

Alcohol is a powerful drug.
  • It slows down the body and mind, impairs coordination, slows reaction time and impacts vision, clear thinking and judgment.
  • Beer and wine are not “safer” than hard liquor. Twelve ounces of beer, five ounces of wine and 1.5 ounces of hard liquor all contain the same amount of alcohol.
  • On average, it takes two to three hours for a single drink to leave your system. Nothing can speed up this process, including coffee, a cold shower or walking around.
  • People seem to be very bad at judging how seriously alcohol has affected them. Asking your friend if he’s “okay to drive,” is not a suitable way to judge if he is indeed “okay to drive.”
  • Anyone can develop a serious alcohol problem, including a teen.
  • Alcohol is not a “magic potion,” instantly making you attractive, happy or cool, as it’s so often portrayed on TV and in movies.

And if that’s not enough, here are some good reasons not to drink
  • not breaking mom's and dad’s rules,
  • maintaining self-respect,
  • remembering that drinking under the age of 21 is illegal, and
  • remembering that drinking can be dangerous (drunk driving, impaired judgment, being more susceptible to sexual assault and unprotected sex, etc.).

If your family has a history of alcoholism, your child may be more likely to develop a drinking problem and he or she needs to know that for them, drinking may carry these extra risks.

For more information, download a copy of “Make a Difference: Talk to your child about alcohol” from the National institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.


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