There are many important issues that children need to learn about and understand as they get older. However, talking to a child about a serious issue such as alcoholism needs to be done in a way that they can relate to. The tone and content of the conversation should be structured based on the age of the child and how he or she handles mature subject matter.
You Can Keep Things Simple for Younger Children
For children who are not yet in school, it may not be a good idea to talk about blood alcohol content and other complex subjects. This is mostly because a small child is not going to understand such concepts. Instead, you can stick to talking about how drinking is bad and that it can cause people to make bad decisions.
Be Honest When Discussing the Subject
As you child gets older, you can start to talk more candidly about the issue of alcoholism. Children who are approaching their teenage years should understand that alcoholism is a disease that cannot be cured. It should also be noted that those with a family history of alcoholism are more likely to develop it themselves.
Children should also be taught that people tend to resort to drinking due to an inability to cope with stress or other emotional issues. Teaching kids how to cope with stress and let their emotions out in a healthy manner could possibly keep a teen from developing a drinking habit.
Teach Your Children Where They Can Go for Help
While you can educate and guide your children away from drinking, curiosity can be a strong motivator to do something that they shouldn’t do. You can talk about how alcohol can ruin relationships or lower your chances of getting a job.
Although parents should stay on top of what their kids are doing, it isn’t always easy for a teenager to admit to his or her parents that he or she has a drinking problem. If a teenager knows where to go to get confidential counseling, it may make it easier for the child or teen to get help before the problem spirals out of control.
Teach Children About Underage Drinking Laws
It is important that your children understand the law as it relates to underage drinking. Those who are under the age of 21 are not allowed to be in the possession of alcohol or under the influence of any alcohol when driving a car. Therefore, the best deterrent to keep kids from drinking may be to tell them that they could go to jail or lose their ability to drive after having as little as one drink. If you have a teenager, the scariest thing of all may be to lose his or her ability to go out on a Saturday night because of a drunk driving incident.
Alcoholism is a complex subject that needs to be handled with tact. Children or teenagers who have alcoholics in their family need to be able to cope with the fact that it is a disease that they need to stay away from. If talking to your kids doesn’t work, telling them where else they can go for help could be the difference between another person succumbing to the disease and getting past their addiction early.