Although the frequency of alcohol, consumption in young people may be lower, the risk of bingeing has increased and not only is this bad for their long term health, large quantities of alcohol can also bring on mood disorders and an increased danger of alcohol related injury whilst intoxicated.
Alcohol misuse is one of the leading preventable causes of death, illness and injury in Australia and around one in eight deaths of Australian’s under 25 is now attributed to alcohol consumption.
This is why at Life Education we believe it is vital to educate children around the dangers of alcohol in upper primary through to secondary school, so that they are empowered to make informed and responsible choices when they are faced with the decision to drink later in life.
Try speaking and having conversations with your children at the appropriate age around alcohol. These conversations are best done during incidental learning moments, for example when an issue occurs in the community or is on TV. By building trusting and open communication with your child you may find they are more open to following your advice and listening to your concerns.
Allow your child to ask you questions about alcohol and share their opinions and thoughts. In turn ask them open ended questions around alcohol awareness. You can look at these conversations as a way to build respect in each other’s opinions whilst also raising your own feelings and expectations in a trusting and open environment.
As parents we can also act as positive role models when it comes to alcohol consumption. DrinkWise Australia suggested some strategies to help you educate by example. Children have eagle eyes so watch your alcohol consumption in from of your children, also chose to turn down the offer of alcohol in front of your children. If you are having events or family gatherings try not to make alcohol the focus or perhaps have alcohol free events.
If you are friends with other parents try having conversations with them, share your expectations and approaches to alcohol awareness with them. By engaging with other parents who are in, or have been in, the same situation, you will be able to pick up some valuable advice or mutual support.
To invite people to quit alcohol for a month, Life Education also organises Ocsober, its yearly fundraiser. For this occasion, we ask participants to demonstrate their willpower and lose the booze for 31 days. All the funds raised help our educators teach children about the importance of finding their own willpower and to make safer and healthier choices.
Feel a little rough around the edges on your own alcohol facts? Try watching this helpful video from the Australian Drug Foundation or download out helpful infographic, ‘Alcohol and the Teenage brain’.
Did you give up alcohol for Ocsober this year or have you given up alcohol for good? How have you found this? What differences has it made and what advice would you give to others looking to do the same?