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Showing posts from February, 2018

Why do parents make the decision to let their teen drink? Is underage drinking 'inevitable' and will providing it be 'protective'?

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I've written many times about why parents make the decision to let their teen drink. At a time when we know so much more about the risks associated with teenage drinking and the message we keep sending is 'delay, delay, delay', it is surprising that so many parents buckle and allow their child to drink, sometimes at a very young age. Now, if you believe providing alcohol to your child is the 'right thing to do' - that is your decision and no-one has the right to tell you to do otherwise ... but if you do not feel comfortable with doing this, then 'stick to your guns'! From what I see, the major reason for this behaviour, particularly from those parents who swore till they were blue in the face that they would never do it, is parental peer pressure, i.e., the belief that they're the only ones saying 'no'!

A few weeks ago I gave a presentation at a Parent Information Evening that was piggy-backed onto an Information Night for Year 10 parents. We …

Alcohol and school functions: Do they go together?

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As the school year comes to an end it is not unusual for me to receive a flurry of emails from parents regarding the provision of alcohol at school functions. Last year was no exception, so I thought I'd share a couple of these and let you know how I responded. "At my son's school's Awards Night, which all parents and their sons were encouraged to attend, both my wife and I were surprised to see alcohol being served. As we entered the school's auditorium, prior to the actual ceremony, we were both offered a free glass of champagne. A bar had been set-up where you could purchase alcohol throughout the night, including spirits, and it seemed as though most of the adults present were drinking. Our son is 14 and has only recently joined the school and we were quite taken aback. What was most concerning to us was that we saw a number of parents either pass a half glass of champagne to their son (in school uniform) to finish off and, in one case, actually purchase a bee…

The difference between having a 'good time' and ending up on life-support could be just one drink: If you think your teen may be drinking alcohol, have the conversation

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About 18 months ago you may remember quite a remarkable story out of the US that got a great deal of coverage right across the world. Hannah Lottritz, a 21-year-old from Nevada, uploaded a photograph of herself on life-support together with a blog entry titled 'Drinking Responsibly' in an effort to warn others about the risks associated with drinking to excess. The article and the photograph went viral with both being picked up by news agencies across the world. The reason behind her decision to share this disturbing image is clearly explained in the opening paragraph of the piece ...

"I am writing this because I didn’t realize the importance of drinking responsibly until I was waking up from a coma, and I don't want anyone to go through what my family and I went through. I ask that you share this with your friends, family or anyone who may benefit from reading this. If I can help just one person by sharing my experience, then I will be absolutely ecstatic."

Sadly…

"Does my drinking affect how my child drinks? Should we stop drinking or not drink around them?"

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One of the talks that I have written to deliver at Information Evenings this year attempts to answer the five top questions I get asked by parents about alcohol based on the most recent research findings. The talk will cover questions about the provision of a 'sip of alcohol', whether allowing a child to drink at a wedding or a NYE celebration is appropriate and the latest information on alcohol and the teen brain. One query that regularly comes up is about the impact, both positive and negative, parental drinking has on a child. Some of the questions I get asked in this area include the following:

·"Should I stop drinking around my child? Am I sending the wrong message when I drink alcohol?" ·"We always take a bottle of wine out with us when we go out for dinner. What message is that sending to our kids?" ·"We don't drink a lot, mainly with meals … is our daughter learning anything positive from that?"
Firstly, most parents start thinking about …