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Showing posts from May, 2016

What about a 16 year-old having a beer with his Dad or a teen having a glass of wine with the family at dinner? Is that 'wrong'?

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This week I had two parents ask me almost identical questions after one of my presentations - both around the notion of the provision of alcohol in a controlled family setting. One mother wanted to know whether the age-old practice of a son in his late teens (she talked about a 16 year-old) having a beer with his father at home was still appropriate and the other was a father who had been brought up in an Italian family where a small glass of wine was given to the children with a meal. Both acknowledged the message in my talk around 'delay, delay, delay' but wanted to know my thoughts on the whole concept of the importance of providing alcohol in a controlled setting in an effort to hopefully 'teach' a teen to drink responsibly.

Firstly, there are no 'rights' or 'wrongs' as far as parenting in this area is concerned. Don't get me wrong, some parental behaviour is truly bizarre in my opinion, but as I've said many times before, no-one can tell y…

A 15 year-old girl and a bottle of vodka

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A couple of years ago I wrote a piece on Neil, a 16 year-old young man I had recently met who had approached me after my talk extremely concerned about what I had just said about spirits and their potential impacts on a teen's long-term health. What had disturbed him were my comments around the sheer amount of alcohol a young person was consuming when they shared a bottle of vodka between three or four of them (i.e., 21-22 standard drinks - the equivalent of 21 glasses of beer), and the impact that this could have on the developing liver. As I wrote at the time, I'm simplifying the conversation, but essentially this is what Neil said to me:

"Do you build a tolerance to alcohol and if you do, what does that actually mean to your health? If you are able to drink a whole lot more than you used to and not get any of the 'drunk' effects, does that mean your liver and the rest of your body are also not getting negative effects? When I drink I usually drink at least a bo…