Kids, Alcohol and Parents
Here is more information about alcohol abuse parents should know.
Are younger children exposed to alcohol and drugs?
The worst thing parents of pre-teen or younger children can do is assume that their child is not going to be exposed to alcohol:
In the community
In your own neighborhood
Beer and liquor are everywhere in American culture. Alcoholic beverages are advertised on television, radio and in the print and internet. People drink at ball games, they drink at parties and they drink at church socials.
The idea of a young child drinking is frightening. Some people think it’s harmless to give a little child a taste of beer or a sip of wine, but it’s like playing Russian Roulette with your child’s health. It isn’t funny.
Consider this: half of all children will try drugs or alcohol before they get out of high school. Half! Can you say with complete certainty that your child will be among the 50% who do not experiment at least once?
If there is even the slightest chance your child might make a bad decision in a moment of weakness, you need to know what to do.My wife grew up in a large urban area. Her family lived in the city and later moved to a suburb when their financial situation improved. She clearly recalls knowing kids in her elementary schools that took drugs, both in the city and in the suburb. We all shudder at drugs, but alcohol is so common. Do you really look at a beer as a threat? You should.
She was one of the 50% who did not use drugs, but her brother, who was seven years older, used drugs regularly when he was in the suburban high school. Beer parties are common. Some irresponsible parents even buy the quarter barrel for their under-aged child’s event.
As it relates to alcoholism parents need to recognize that each child is an individual and that life experience for one may bear no resemblance to the experience of the other. If the older one never drinks, don’t assume the younger one will not drink either.Here is some information about drug use in teens which also translates to alcohol use. Alcohol is a drug, just like marijuana. Alcoholism parents who treat alcohol lightly do so at their children's peril.
According to Dr. Allen I. Leshner, director, National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), the first thing alcoholism parents need to understand is WHY their kids would consider taking drugs. He offers that researchers have identified more than 50 factors, which are found at several different levels—individual, family, peer group and broader community.
Here are some of the factors about alcohol abuse that alcoholism parents should look for:
- Too much free time
- Weak family structures
- Peer pressure
- Social pressure
- Media glorification of drinking
Alcoholism parents need to understand the risk factors. Keep your eyes open. There are a couple of reasons why children will drink. Let’s divide kids into two groups:
The first group is just looking for fun and excitement. They want to be a part of the crowd, so they do what their friends do, or what they THINK their friends do. They want to be cool. Even in elementary or intermediate school, kids want to be cool.
The second group is the kids who want to feel better. They might have emotional or mental issues, or they come from an abusive home, or something else is not right, regardless of how loving and supportive their parents are. They want to feel better, or just feel “normal.” They are self-medicating to feel better. Alcoholics will tell you about the “click,” that effect they receive when taking the first drink. Don’t assume that a child is exempt from using alcohol to feel better.
How do you know if your kids are using?
- Look for the signs like mood changes, or changes in energy levels.
- Do they have redness around their eyes?
- Have they stopped eating?
- Are they keeping up with their homework?
- Are they more secretive?
- Have they changes friends?
To discuss alcoholism parents need quality time with their children. Try to draw them out and see what’s going on in their lives. Get smart. Don’t assume Little Johnny or Little Jane isn’t trying something new, or won’t make a bad choice. The best drinking prevention program is your job as a parent right at home.
We encourage you to look into alcoholism parents prevention programs in your child’s school, or in the community.
If you suspect your child is self-medicating, get help from a professional!
If your child is drinking, becoming addicted, or is already addicted, you can’t handle it alone. Your child needs help and you need help!!
You should consult your family doctor, who can give you a referral to a local drug counselor, psychologist or social worker. Alcoholism is a disease of the body, mind and spirit, so there are many people who are trained to help.
Avoid wrong assumptions
A dangerous assumption about alcoholism parents can make is thinking the drug use is a passing phase. Do you want to take the risk of your child falling into the clutches of addiction because you think it’s just a passing fancy?
They assume they can just handle it at home, maybe talk the kid out of using alcohol. They don’t have training in handling drug-related problems and may lose a lot of time, while their child loses control.
Parents assume they are the right kind of parents whose children do not do “these kinds of things.” They have money, they have social position, they go to church every Sunday and so these problems happen to other families.
Some parents make another dangerous assumption; they might recall their own youth and rationalize their child’s drug use by saying, “I drank when I was a kid and look at me, I didn’t become an addict.”
Know your child
Know your kid. Be open to allowing your kids to talk to you and share themselves with you, without your correcting them or minimizing their concerns. Be the parent, an understanding and protective guide.
Don’t compromise your role by being their “buddy,” because you will lose perspective. Like a general directing his troops, take a step back and look at the field from a hillside. Know that the enemy is there and wants to strike your child. That is a reality.
Be in control. Be honest. Be alert. Be proactive.
HOW TO USE THIS SITE:
This site contains five MAIN pages that EVERYONE should read:
Read these five pages and learn what you need to know to spot Alcoholism in:
Yourself... Your Family... Your Friends... Your Community...
The rest of the pages are there for your reference to explain important topics in more detail.
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