Most children start experimenting with alcohol in their adolescent years. As they are going through both physical and emotional changes, there is a desire to fit in, experiment and challenge authority.

Alcohol is a psychoactive substance that can affect development, impair faculties and in some cases lead to addiction and abuse.

While recreational consumption of alcohol is a normal part of growing up, it is important to avoid potential risks and educate your children early.

Here are some tips on how.

1. Respect your children and talk to them like equals. This is the age your teen will feel like expressing and exerting their independence.

2. Children of all ages mimic their parents' behavior. Role model positive and responsible drinking habits at home and in social settings.

3. Avoid lecturing them and imposing strict rules without a valid explanation.

4. Talk to them calmly, openly and honestly about the facts. Include details like the different types of alcohol and their effects on the body and mind. E.g. The health benefits of a glass of red wine; the ill and potentially deathly effect of locally brewed alcohol.

5. Lay down a set of guidelines for responsible behavior based on your family values. Set clear boundaries and encourage them to talk to you about things going on in their life.

6. Teach them about the negative consequences of irresponsible drinking; moderation; staying safe and how to say no if they feel pressured.

7. Teach them to never drive under the influence OR get in a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking.

8. Remember to check-in and talk to your child about mental health, emotional well-being and cultivating positive habits.

Our guide outlines the facts based on research from several online and offline resources. If you are in doubt or worried about your child for any reason, consult with a qualified and certified mental health professional or medical doctor.

Reviewed by: Jason Eric Ross, PhD, LMHC

Date reviewed: 29th December, 2018

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