While many parents feel helpless when they discover that their child is drinking; there are things that can be done. Naturally, if possible, the best way to prevent children from drinking is to educate them about it before they experiment with it. Many parents never discuss drugs and alcohol with their children, which increase the chances that the child will experiment with them. If there is alcoholism in the family, the more it should be discussed.
Alcoholism doesn’t just happen, even among children. They make that decision to try that first drink. After the first drink, there isn’t a lot of prevention but there is rehab. Children need to be educated on the temptations of alcohol as well as the dangers of drinking. Playact some scenarios that the child may find themselves in. Pretend to be a peer who offers the child some alcohol. Help the child practice saying “no”. Kids have a difficult time saying no to their friends and they must learn to do so in order to resist that first (and any subsequent) alcoholic beverage.
Discuss family members and friends who drink and the lifelong problems they have endured. The worse thing to do is try to keep it a “family secret”. Point out how (for example) Uncle Joe always stumbles around and says ridiculous things when he has been drinking. Share with them that cousin Charlotte died in a car crash because she was drunk. Kids have to know the consequences of alcohol and how severe they are. Alcohol has a lot of adverse effects; kids need to know that as early as possible. Any information that can stop a child from becoming a future alcoholic should be shared.
Like drug addiction, alcoholism starts with that first experience. Making sure the child never has that first experience with drinking, is one sure way to keep them from becoming an alcoholic. Sharing the dangers of alcohol just may save their life. If it should be discovered that a child is already drinking, action should be taken immediately. Seek help before it ruins the rest of the child’s life. The earlier the intervention is taken, the better.
Children are prime targets for alcohol abuse because of their curiosity and peer pressure. Parents need to talk openly with them about alcohol, the dangers and what peers may do to convince them to try drinking.