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Talk to Drinkaware about various issues surrounding underage drinking – x3 £200 voucher prize draw NOW CLOSED

(207 Posts)
MichelleMumsnet Netherlands (MNHQ) Mon 07-Oct-13 11:12:12

Drinkaware would like to find out Mumsnetters' opinions on talking to your children about alcohol and underage drinking.

Here's what Drinkaware have to say, Drinkaware is pleased to be working in partnership with Mumsnet to raise awareness about the issues surrounding children and alcohol. By providing tips and expert advice to mums, we hope to encourage them to feel confident in talking to their children about alcohol in the pre-teen years, before the onset of peer pressure. For more detailed information on how to do this and to practice conversations using our interactive video, go to drinkaware.co.uk"

This thread will be open for one month, during which we will add new questions (with a total of three questions over the month) to the thread. All of the questions will centre around how to approach issues surrounding alcohol with your children.

Before we add a new question to the discussion there will be a prize draw for a £200 Amazon voucher for everyone who added has their comments and thoughts to the thread so far.

Questions:

1. "Thinking about those (sometimes) tricky conversations with your children about topics such as sex and relationships, drugs, online safety: how important do you think it is to talk to them about alcohol, and at what age do you think is the best time?"

2 "Medical experts recommend children are not allowed any alcohol before 16. Do you think this is the right age? Or do you think that you should introduce children gradually to alcohol from a young age under your supervision?"

3 "How much of an influence do you think your own drinking behaviour has on your child? Do you think it is OK for your child to see you or your partner drunk?"

Thanks and good luck!

MNHQ

littlemonkeychops Tue 08-Oct-13 19:23:16

Obviously it's important to talk about it, our DC are too small to start yet but we will once they are old enough to be aware of it. I agree with posters who have said it should be an ongoing dialogue rather than a big one -off chat so it's not seen as a taboo.

ButThenAgain that's interesting i dudn't know that drinkaware was a product of the industry i assumed it was totally independent.

mindgone Tue 08-Oct-13 19:33:14

I can't remember at what age I started to talk to the children about the effects of alcohol, but it was quite young, regular, and age appropriate from then on. I remember telling them that it can make you do things you wouldn't normally want to do, eg. kissing a really horrible girl! This idea worried them greatly!
They have known my 'drinking rules' for when they are older, for a long time too. Ie. never drink on an empty stomach, carbs are best.
Don't mix your drinks
Have occasional non alcoholic drinks too
MOST IMPORTANTLY: be with people you trust!

There is a lot of alcohol in our house and I have never worried about them helping themselves, they're just not that bothered by it.

WrongendoftheSTIX Tue 08-Oct-13 22:21:06

It is definitely an important discussion to have with your child. We will discuss when it arises rather than have a full sit down discussion. I hope to create a honest and open atmosphere where any question whether sex, drugs or drink related will be answered to best of my ability.

My Dd is in an unusual position where she is unlimey to see alcohol being drunk at home. I loathe the taste of all alcohol and whilst DH drinks occasionally, even I haven't seen him drunk since uni!

WrongendoftheSTIX Tue 08-Oct-13 22:21:27

It is definitely an important discussion to have with your child. We will discuss when it arises rather than have a full sit down discussion. I hope to create a honest and open atmosphere where any question whether sex, drugs or drink related will be answered to best of my ability.

My Dd is in an unusual position where she is unlimey to see alcohol being drunk at home. I loathe the taste of all alcohol and whilst DH drinks occasionally, even I haven't seen him drunk since uni!

WrongendoftheSTIX Tue 08-Oct-13 22:21:41

It is definitely an important discussion to have with your child. We will discuss when it arises rather than have a full sit down discussion. I hope to create a honest and open atmosphere where any question whether sex, drugs or drink related will be answered to best of my ability.

My Dd is in an unusual position where she is unlimey to see alcohol being drunk at home. I loathe the taste of all alcohol and whilst DH drinks occasionally, even I haven't seen him drunk since uni!

WrongendoftheSTIX Tue 08-Oct-13 22:22:01

It is definitely an important discussion to have with your child. We will discuss when it arises rather than have a full sit down discussion. I hope to create a honest and open atmosphere where any question whether sex, drugs or drink related will be answered to best of my ability.

My Dd is in an unusual position where she is unlimey to see alcohol being drunk at home. I loathe the taste of all alcohol and whilst DH drinks occasionally, even I haven't seen him drunk since uni!

WrongendoftheSTIX Tue 08-Oct-13 22:22:23

It is definitely an important discussion to have with your child. We will discuss when it arises rather than have a full sit down discussion. I hope to create a honest and open atmosphere where any question whether sex, drugs or drink related will be answered to best of my ability.

My Dd is in an unusual position where she is unlimey to see alcohol being drunk at home. I loathe the taste of all alcohol and whilst DH drinks occasionally, even I haven't seen him drunk since uni

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Wed 09-Oct-13 09:11:50

you don't get more chance of winning if you post more do you? grin at wrongend

SaltySeaBird Wed 09-Oct-13 13:26:31

1. "Thinking about those (sometimes) tricky conversations with your children about topics such as sex and relationships, drugs, online safety: how important do you think it is to talk to them about alcohol, and at what age do you think is the best time?"

I'm not a big drinker and grew up with an alcoholic parent. DH drinks a few beers at the weekend but that is it really unless we are entertaining in which case we get a couple of bottles of wine in.

I'll be open and honest with my DD from a young age about alcohol. I don't want to have a sit down conversation about it but I want her to understand that it is primarily a drink for grown ups, that too much affects the way you think and act and I'll explain when it is appropriate to drink it.

I'll be happy for her to try a bit of wine with a meal probably as young as 12 years old (just a watered down sip) as I don't want her to see it as taboo. I'd rather she drank safely than tried to hide it and drank in a dangerous way.

I was allowed wine with meals, or even to try spirits at a fairly young age (about 12) and I hated it. It was just something I was allowed if I wanted it. I've never really been a drinker and thought getting drunk and stealing alcohol was a bit childish when I was a young teen (after all, it was on the meal table, it wasn't a taboo thing).

I want to teach her that all food or drink that is bad for you is something to have in moderation, and to understand how the body works and what is healthy. I think chocolate and energy drinks should be treated in the same way too.

SaltySeaBird Wed 09-Oct-13 13:29:34

I should add, the one thing I want her to take away and know is that she must never, ever get in a car with somebody who has had a drink. Never. Equally, she must never do it herself.

No matter what time, where she is or in what state we will come and get her, no judgement, no repercussions.

Neither me or DH will drive if we have even had a sip of alcohol. I'm not sure there is such a thing as a safe limit as it effects you so differently depending on what you've eaten, how tired you are etc.

randomnc Wed 09-Oct-13 14:33:41

I'm not sure how I will handle it, to be honest, not least because my attitude has hardened during pregnancy and due to other breaks from drinking (dry January, working holidays, spending time in the US where norms are different).

When not drinking it becomes much clearer how prevalent it is and how it's easy to get sucked into drinking a little too much every day and having a constant minor hangover. So, I'm not sure how to warn children against what effectively constitutes normal drinking, other than by being haranguing and overbearing and putting frighteners on them. If 'normal middle-class drinking' is at dangerous levels then they will need additional tools. The issue is that it's addictive, widespread and socially expected - so using common sense might not be enough.

We always have alcohol in the house and both DH and I regularly drink wine.
I have a 15 and 17 year old. I began talking about alcohol when they were around 11/12. When they started being more independent and going to parties I continued to talk to them. I try to encourage an open moderate attitude to alcohol. I've described the effects it has on people, loss of inhibition, possible aggression in people who are normally quiet, spiking of drinks and so on. I don't want it to be taboo, I believe they need to learn how to manage in a society in which alcohol is ever present.
They have been allowed a small drink on special family occasions about 14. My 17 year old has a drink about once a week, a beer or cider.

ChasedByBees Wed 09-Oct-13 15:36:25

I think from my own memory, alcohol stories were much more prevalent from senior school onwards so I'd make sure that my DD was alcohol aware from about 8 onwards. I think others are right when you say you have to address it on an ongoing basis though. First with, 'you're too young' but leading to the effects of alcohol and drinking in moderation. I'd probably not push the total abstinence route (my parents did and I don't think that worked). Also as I like nice wine, it would be hypocritical. I think it's important to encourage them to drink slowly and savour the drink and know when to stop. All of those things are incompatible with cheap alcopops so hopefully it would discourage them too.

To me its a really important topic of discussion between us and our boys. our eldest is 12 now so its something we are dropping into conversation now and again. It really worries me about under-age drinking. I couldn't talk to my parents about anything and I want to make sure my kids don't have that problem.

I think it in this day and age with the drinking culture of youngsters being what it is, it's imperative to talk to our children about it.

I don't think there is a set age at which to have these discussions, as with sex ed etc but it should be brought up at home if they see us have the occasional drink. I have spoken to my DC about it in general, DD is 6 and knows that adults do have a drink from time to time but I have also told her the dangers of drinking too much without going into huge detail. With my older dc who are 9 & 12 I have also discussed the wider implications and the fact that some people are too dependent becoming alcoholics and the dangers of getting into situations you wouldn't normally be in because of drinking too much.

tinypumpkin Thu 10-Oct-13 10:42:46

I don't know about ages as my DC are young (3 and 2). I would agree that 7, 8 or 9 might be a good age. It is so important to have such conversations and be honest. I want my DCs to be able to talk to me (as I was able to talk to my parents) so don't want to make it a taboo subject at all.

B3nnyB0y Thu 10-Oct-13 10:48:26

For me it's not a separate conversation: I do drink and alcohol is in the house regularly. DC will grow up to know what mummy and daddy do and that you can't be silly with drinking. It's a much more French approach/attitude. We hope to lead by example

Mamafratelli Thu 10-Oct-13 12:34:27

I have already talked to my dc's about alcohol in everyday conversation. They are 6 and 4. We went to a fire station open day and there was a car from a fatal crash in which an 18 year old sadly lost his life. We talked about how you must never ever get in a car with someone who has had a drink. I think for now we will carry on as we are dropping advice into the conversation when opportunities arise until. When they are a little older, probably year 6 we will have a serious conversation about alcohol and how to enjoy it responsibly and safely.

Bubbles85 Fri 11-Oct-13 07:57:32

I think it's absolutely necessary talk about alcohol as kids do listen to their parents more than we give them credit for. Without our advice all they have is their friends. I would say the first few years of secondary school are key.

BruthasTortoise Fri 11-Oct-13 08:07:31

Alcoholism has had a terrible effect on both my and my DH's family and we are hyper aware that this is an important discussion to have with our sons. I think especially with young men their is often "competition" between themselves as to how much they can consume. I want my boys to know that they can enjoy a drink if they want to but to never feel they have to compete with anyone and for them to know that the "mum and dad taxi" will always be available should they find themselves in a vulnerable position. This lesson has been drummed into them since they were tinies - if you're in trouble, phone home.

CheekyChimpsMummy Fri 11-Oct-13 10:27:18

I think children are very aware of what alcohol is from a very young age. Partly through what they see at home (& knowing that a glass of wine or beer is a drink for grown-ups only) I think they also see adults drinking at family restaurant/pubs etc and also countless TV programmes that are set in and around pubs.
I believe in honesty and openess, whether its about alcohol, sex, drugs, online safety and you should discuss it openly on a 'need to know' basis. I wouldn't shy away from any questions DS asks and will always let him know if things will be explained further as he grows older

unquietmind Fri 11-Oct-13 10:55:13

1. "Thinking about those (sometimes) tricky conversations with your children about topics such as sex and relationships, drugs, online safety: how important do you think it is to talk to them about alcohol, and at what age do you think is the best time?"

We did with ours early as they were exposed to alcohol misuse in another setting (biological parent). I think its important to talk about early but also to lead by example, if younger kids see people saying one thing about alcohol but doing another it can be really misleading for them or cause them worry about what will happen. After my children's experience in early life, I am conscious not to do things which might upset them or cause them worry, as for them people drinking is very significant. We promote safe and appropriate alcohol use but they prefer to think that they will not drink in the future (we are aware this may change)

My eldest (17) is very open to the discussion and always was, he is not a fan of drinking or drunk behaviour after his experiences. My 16 year old is similar. My 15 year old has not expressed a clear opinion and my 13 year old calls it dirty beer but due to her disabilities she is not aware of the full things regarding alcohol. Without their personal experiences I would have discussed it around Y7 when they are exposed to older children who may discuss drinking, or perhaps just before. We think its very important especially how accessible alcohol is and how many people misuse alcohol but it is unseen by others, but perhaps seen by youngsters.

sallyc06 Fri 11-Oct-13 13:00:27

I was brought up by a mother who drank alcohol every night until she was paraletic, she died very young and I am sure this contributed, consequently I am extremely aware of the perils of drink. I like an odd one occaisionly, but not on a regular basis. I believe it is extremely important to discuss alcohol the same way you do drugs. Children, whether boys or girls must be aware it only takes a couple to impare your judgement or to become dangerous. For example I live in Bristol and there is a harbourside and lots of rivers, from time to time there have been reports of younsters drowning follwing a night out, I can only assume they drunkenly fall in and cannot get out. I often discuss alcohol with my children and feel reassured afterwards, maybe it just gives me comfort, following my personal experiences with my mother.

Gemma10 Fri 11-Oct-13 13:34:45

With children starting to drink as young as 10, I would say any age appropriate conversation would be good, starting around 8 or 9 and then getting more specific when they are young teenagers e.g. 14, when their peers are probably starting to get drunk in the park.

NannyPlumForPM Fri 11-Oct-13 14:24:47

The trouble with bringing it up too young means that it can 'normalise' drinking. I plan on talking to my daughter about it gradually rather than having a specific sit down discussion.

That said - when she reaches secondary school, around aged 13-14 (depending on how 'young' she seems) and the peer pressure from friends then I will probably pull some information together to try and teach her about the dangers of smoking and the dangers of excessive drinking. I feel being fully informed about the lasting damage is as good a deterrant as anything else.

I want to talk to her before she gets too rebellious but probably won't do it from a point of view of 'I don't want you to drink' more, 'here is the information, here are the dangers' etc.

I think it is very important to talk to them before they get skewed information from peers, but would avoid too much information IYSWIM.

HTH Mumsnet!

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