Childhood can be a critical road in the path to addiction. Once women in recovery stabilize in their sobriety, they can reflect more clearly on the contrast between addiction and recovery. At this point, many women can identify the triggers and influences that contributed to their alcohol abuse. Would different parenting have made a difference? Would knowledge have helped direct their younger selves from alcohol addiction?
The Washington Post reports that parenting plays a huge part in alcohol abuse. Parents who educate young children about alcohol could help curb future alcoholism.
Children are aware of alcohol much younger than many parents anticipate, according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, The Washington Post notes. The best time to talk with kids about the reality of drinking and addiction is around age nine. While it might seem startling to talk addiction with a fourth grader, parents need to reach kids before alcohol advertising and marketing send the wrong messages.
Where Are Kids Learning About Alcohol?
Advertising has a significant effect on children. The report found that exposure to ads ups the likelihood that kids will begin drinking. While liquor ads aren’t showing on children’s channels, it’s hard to avoid billboards, grocery store displays, even mentions of drinking in movies and popular music. And of course there are peers and their parents, older siblings, and the bottles kept in most homes. How parents portray drinking has a huge impact. Is it positive, negative, taboo?
The Right Way to Talk About Alcohol Addiction
Avoiding the topic of alcohol isn’t the answer. Any parent who’s told their child no understands that word often means go. The forbidden can be extremely enticing, especially when it hasn’t been debunked. Alerting young ones to the realities of drinking takes away some of its mystery and fascination and just might mean the difference between underage drinking and declining at a party. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ study revealed that one factor shaped kids’ drinking habits the most—parents.
Starting the Conversation—And Keeping It Open
Becoming a champion of healthy drinking habits starts by establishing a relationship. Parents need to build a trusting, nonjudgmental connection with kids, where conversation is easy and mistakes are dealt with fairly. Focusing on quality time and attention to teens’ and kids’ interests can help keep communication channels open for when critical moments arise.
Being honest about addiction, even your own, could deter a son or daughter from imbibing. At the very least, it shows them a side of drinking hidden from beer commercials. Parents should expect that children will be tempted to drink in high school, if not long before. They shouldn’t assume that their rules will stop kids, but instead, equip them with advice for difficult situations. Families should come up with ideas together on what teens and kids can say if they’re offered alcohol. How can they get out of the situation?
How Will You Help?
The severity of addiction might seem obvious to an adult, especially one who’s experienced it. But to a child or teen, it’s an unknown. A parent’s wise—and practical—words might mean the difference between sobriety and a painful journey of alcohol abuse later.