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

(207 Posts)
MichelleMumsnet (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"

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.


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!


Rarecherry Fri 11-Oct-13 14:29:04

I imagine i will be having an alcohol conversation around 11-12 then more in depth at a later date when the time seems right. Me and DH don't drink alcohol, but lots of our family do, so I if questions are asked sooner we will answer them.

SundaySimmons Fri 11-Oct-13 15:07:02

We have just had an outraged parent complain to the media about their child being suspended from school because the child had a bottle of shandy as their beverage of choice.

Yes, it is regarded as being a non alcoholic drink but is this not the first step in encouraging children to progress to alcohol?

telsa Fri 11-Oct-13 19:23:19

I have been open and honest about alcohol as long as my children have been able to speak and understand, I do not think it should be made a taboo or a secret practice. The children see us drink sensibly and occasionally and we talk about the effects of constant and excessive drinking now and again.

ILoveAFullFridge Fri 11-Oct-13 20:39:34

Waiting until 2ry/12/13 is too late. Especially in a teetotal family.

You need to have these conversations while they are still open to parental influence, and before they start thinking we're boring old farts and soooo 20th century. And before they come under peer pressure from kids that you do not - and may never - know.

HootyMcOwlface Fri 11-Oct-13 20:51:34

I think its important to have the conversation and I'd do it when kids are about 10 or so. My parents were pretty good role models, and I remember my Dad talking to me about not overdoing alcohol, but overall they were quite relaxed about it (e.g. letting us have a small amount on a special occasion when we were older) and I think it worked for us. I'd have a similar attitude with my kids.

Snog Sat 12-Oct-13 12:03:04

I think its important to talk about these things all the time as they come up. This is better than having "The Big Alcohol Lecture Talk".
How responsible kids are with alcohol is imo more about how they have been parented on a day to day basis since birth than whether or not and when you give them the facts on alcohol - they get these at school anyway.

GreenShadow Sat 12-Oct-13 18:16:38

Having 3 DSs, the eldest being 21, one 19 and youngest 14, we have already had to deal with this.

I'm afraid I can't remember when it was first raised with DS1 or 2, but would guess it was around late primary.

DS3 would have been much younger I think, as he was aware his oldest brother drinking. Luckily, he is sensible and if anything it has put him off drinking. When some of his 'friends' started drinking and smoking recently, he dropped them and started hanging out with more sensible friends.

I think the 'talk' needs to be done in different stages. Introduced when quite young, but gone into more detail when in early secondary school - may be when, like DS3, they come across contemporaries drinking.
Of course this depends on how much your DC tells you about what they and their friends are up to.

WhereAreMyShoes Sat 12-Oct-13 19:44:07

I think it's highly important to have an open atmosphere and for my kids to feel as if they can ask any question. I will definitely be including alcohol issues in my things to chat about agenda.
I have no expectations as to the ages this will happen. I'll be led by their attitudes and peer groups as they grow up.

GetKnitted Sat 12-Oct-13 20:21:44

Its a bit tricky for us so far, because we don't drink and the dc are so small (2 and 5) that they haven't really come across it very much. He has come across the phrase drunk in various news items, songs etc, and we've talked about it very generally. On the one hand I certainly don't want him to start judging other people based on whether or not they drink. On the other, it's certainly not something he'll do with my knowledge before he's 18. Life is tricky isn't it.

MrsPnut Sat 12-Oct-13 20:26:08

I have a 16 year old who has twice been in a situation that we deemed to be very dangerous but she has learnt from it and never drunk to excess since.

stephgr Sun 13-Oct-13 01:33:38

I do think it's really important and I would probably talk about it when my children are around 10 years old but if they come into contact with alcohol earlier then I'd start earlier. So for example if they watched something on TV where alcohol was part of the storyline or if they saw someone who has drunk, I'd start a discussion then rather than wait.

mrscumberbatch Sun 13-Oct-13 09:54:51

I think it's so important.
My parents weren't big drinkers and if they went to a pub it would literally be once or twice a year so we grew up in a bit of a bubble and when we hit our teens went quite quite mad.

I think I would be happy to let a 16 year old have a beer or two in the house or at a family party/occasion as if it's not 'Forbidden Fruit' then hopefully they would learn that drinking to excess is not all that fun.

It'll be an ongoing thing but I do like the French attitude to drinking and letting children have a glass of wine with dinner. It's quite civilised and promotes a healthier relationship with booze.

clubnail Sun 13-Oct-13 12:47:32

We are open with DC about everything. DS is only a toddler so too young to discuss alcohol with, but our approach is just to be open and honest about everything. We aren't big drinkers here, never drink in the home, but our parents didn't either, and we both have sensible attitudes to alcohol.

amazinggrace2001 Mon 14-Oct-13 11:54:02

Neither I nor more my husband drink, haven't done for five or six years now, mainly because dont like the effect plus don't seem to be able to metabolise it anymore. We do talk about alcohol to our two children, one, 11 and the other,7 in a matter of fact way. My husband is very anti- alcohol and I have a more tempered view of it but don't like how it seems to be an integral part of adult culture and socialising in Britain. I wouldn't be strict about whether our children could drink it or not when they are older, as think that could cause them to rebel. I find that for all the talk of 'binge drinking teenagers' in the press, a lot of young people don't drink as much as I remember doing when I was a teenager! Our daughter,11, reckons she's not going to bother drinking when she is older but we will see!

bucksmum71 Mon 14-Oct-13 14:12:49

Very much lead by example here, moderation and not a taboo. The kids are teenagers and I let them have the odd beer or glass of wine with dinner but it's not made out to be a big deal so hopefully they wont feel the need to go out and binge - that said I've taught them to sleep in recovery position if they do drink and if they are with friends who have drunk lots to make sure they are in recovery position if asleep!

k8vincent Mon 14-Oct-13 16:06:20

Given that we live in a culture where binge drinking is seen as acceptable and normal for teens we feel it is important to talk to our children even now at 7, 5 and 3.

Of course, it is age appropriate, but we have talked about it because all 3 have asked to try Daddy's beer. We have discussed why people can't drive after drinking alcohol - mainly as a result of asking why one of us wasn't driving the car. We have also had alcohol discussions because we have seen people with cans of beer on the pavement and the children have asked about it.

It is really important that our children see us having a sensible approach to alcohol and that they know they can discuss it. The focus of our conversations have always been on how drinking too much alcohol can mean you make bad decisions and aren't safe.

bromwichn Mon 14-Oct-13 19:07:38

Our little man is too small to have the talk at only 6months old but I think once he starts talking notice of what his mum and dad drink we will make it clear that it's grown up drink and just mention it when we have some in front of him. I believe that children find it awkward and don't always pay full attention or take you seriously if you have 'a talk' but if they know from a young age and have it reinforced over and over again it will become taken for granted that it is for grown ups. Saying that I will probably have a little chat or a quick reminder with him before he goes to his first teenage party so 12 or 13.

LaVitaBellissima Mon 14-Oct-13 19:19:58

I agree, that it needs to be a gradual conversation, but as someone who did spend my teenage years drinking on the beach on a Friday and Saturday night, I really hope I can prevent my children from doing this.
Hopefully by having a strong and open relationship with them and talk of the dangers of drinking in excess.
I am particularly worried about social media, and the Internet, and childish mistakes being put on the net for life.

Letitsnow9 Mon 14-Oct-13 19:46:46

Very important, it doesn't have to be a big sit down and talk issue, talk about moderation as they are growing up

Hopezibah Mon 14-Oct-13 21:48:33

I think it is almost never to early to talk about those tricky topics - if things are generally dropped into conversation from an age when kids can understand, then hopefully it will filter into their minds and help shape their own opinions as they will know how you feel about those things.

We try not to do it in a 'preachy' kind of way but more matter of factly - especially if the topic arises from a situation / something they see or hear or is asked by them.

My kids have always from a really young age been very 'anti' smoking for example and I think other topics will slowly filter in too.

IncaAztec Tue 15-Oct-13 14:50:24


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 think the best age to talk about alcohol is around 6 to 7 years old. Preferably by discussing the difference between a drink with a meal and binge drinking. This means you get in first before peer pressure and can explain 'normal' adult alcohol drinking and binge/negative alcohol drinking (i.e. street drinking) to children. It is very important to discuss alcohol, not just the negative side, but why adults drink alcohol (i.e. the social side).

Ruby6918 Tue 15-Oct-13 18:14:13

im 44 and my mum had a busy social life but in the seventies all the parents had nights out and socialised and some house parties, myself and my sister were used to alcohol being around were not introduced to us socially and were told it was a big persons thing, but from what i remember there were no massive situations which made me feel fraid or un cared for, we did however both start drinking at about 13 to try it out with peers, i have gone through the whole alcohol thing with my son and he is 21 now and has got himself into trouble with the police as a result, he still seems too immature to me to be able to drink responsibly but thats more a sign of our society than anything else, it all seems to be a competition now to see who can get the drunkest boys and girls and who can get into the most trouble, and there are so many programmes on the tv these days and also u tube which glamorise this behaviour too. my daughters are about to head into teens and im afraid for them, ive tried to explain the dangers and im not sure if anything will work, because it starts normally due to peer pressure and i live in an urban area and there is quite a bit of under age drinking about, if we look at mediterrean culture where families cook, eat and share some wine at the table in a relaxed atmosphere, i think this is the key, it enables alcohol to be a sharing experience along with good company and enjoyment. Our society has created a drinking monster.

johnworf Tue 15-Oct-13 22:04:35

Children definitely learn by example therefore it's important to show them how to drink in a responsible manner.

When my older children (now in their 20's) were young teenagers, they were allowed a small glass of wine with their Sunday lunch to take away the mystery surrounding alcohol.

Now they are older, 2 of them drink sensibly and the 3rd one doesn't drink at all.

BlackberrySeason Wed 16-Oct-13 00:02:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BlackberrySeason Wed 16-Oct-13 00:02:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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