Teenagers and Alcohol Update:
This article was originally published in November 2016.  This week (July 2017) we came across an article in the Australian media, discussing research findings from an Australian University : Parents warned against giving children alcohol in attempt to supervise drinking We think it’s definitely worth a read!

Should I Let My Children Try Alcohol at Home – Or Not?

Teenagers and Alcohol.  Whether or not to let children try alcohol has long been a heated discussion among parents, doctors and now scientists.

Naturally, there are many different opinions on the matter.  Consequently, there is a diverse range of social, familial and physiological factors to think about.  So it has been almost impossible to draw a definite conclusion for the benefit of those who genuinely care for the safe passage of their children into Adulthood.

Teenagers and alcohol: should you give your teenager a taste of alcohol?

Teenagers and alcohol – some would say all teenagers will try alcohol.  Some would say most teenagers would drink.  So why not introduce them to alcohol in the safety of your own home?  Where you can supervise them.  “Surely that’s the sensible thing to do?” you might ask.

Fortunately, now scientists have able to draw upon the findings of long range studies into the growth and maturity of children, teenagers and young adults.  As a result, using the statistics, they have been able to draw conclusions about the safety(or otherwise)  of letting children try alcohol.  The findings? Don’t do it!

To give alcohol to teenagers or to let children try alcohol is not safe!

The statistics are overwhelmingly conclusive.  The earlier a person is exposed to alcohol, the more they are pre-disposed to drinking too much alcohol later in life.  It is not safe to let children try alcohol.  Not even in the safety of the family home.  In fact the opposite is true, it is actually harmful for their future health.

Should we let children try alcohol to teach them how to drink safely?

Many parents feel that sharing a glass of alcohol with their growing teenage children can be a way of navigating the teenage years more safely.  It has been shown that this is NOT the case, in fact.  Here’s the bad news.  Giving children alcohol has been shown to increase the likelihood of teenagers developing alcoholism later in life.


Isn’t it better the devil you know?

What we need to consider at this point is the environment of the children.  Meaning – that family conditioning and approval of the consumption of alcohol in the family home may cause an unhealthy tendency towards the drinking of too much alcohol.  In other words, children follow the example of their parents.  They drink alcohol and very likely go on to drink too much alcohol later in life.

“Every parent should remember that one day their child will follow their example instead of their advice.”

Is it Safe to Let Children Try Alcohol?

It is common for parents with genuinely good intentions for the upbringing of their children to teach them about alcohol.  Many parents believe that they can provide a safer environment to let children try alcohol.  Parents can honestly try to moderate the consumption of alcohol and to teach their children and teenagers how to “drink properly”.  But it is very difficult to teach someone to how to stop drinking.  Especially when they have learnt from a young age.

So the message gets lost somewhere along the line.  Regretfully, the message turns more towards approval of drinking too much alcohol, and drinking alcohol every night.  Rather than the intended message – that drinking alcohol should be done with moderation.  Rather than the message of taking care of how much you drink.  The opposite is true and well meaning parents can actually encourage their teenager to drink excessively.  Would you care to try to offer help to stop drinking when they are adults?

Help to Stop Drinking

A Child’s Brain is Not Fully Formed

The results may be a surprise to parents. Many were previously conditioned to believe that providing a safe means to let children try alcohol was okay.  This has not been proven to be the truth, Doctors generally now support the fact that children and young adults should never be conditioned to drink alcohol.  They should not be ‘trained’ to drink alcohol.

This is because the human brain does not fully mature until some time in the twenties, for both boys and girls.  Consequently, exposure to alcohol in the teenage years can be shown to have adverse affects on the development and maturity of the adolescent brain.

In fact, if we let children try alcohol in the family home, the more likely it is that children or teenagers will grow into alcohol induced behaviors.  There is also a higher risk that alcohol will dominate other social and lifestyle choices.  What this means is that other poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise are also more likely to take root. Studies have shown an increased correlation between poor lifestyle choices and the excessive consumption of alcohol.

Don’t Let The Message About Teenagers and Alcohol Get Lost

Teenagers and AlcoholWell-meaning parents who let their children try alcohol are putting in their best effort.  Unfortunately, they could well be setting their teenage children up for long reaching negative side effects of the very lifestyle decisions they were hoping to avoid in the first place.

The earlier the consumption of alcohol by teenage children the earlier the association with drinking too much alcohol.  The earlier a person is exposed to drinking alcohol, the more conditioned the body becomes to the regular consumption of alcohol.  And the more likely that they will need help to stop drinking.

As we all know, alcohol is something that we can condition ourselves to handling more and more of.  Have you ever noticed that is seems to be a social requirement that we be able to “handle our drink”?  This is no doubt a requirement that we try to behave in a socially acceptable manner while we drink alcohol.  But it can have negative consequences when we train our body to consume more and more alcohol every day.

So in fact, we don’t need to “educate our teenager how to drink”.  And we should not let children try alcohol.  We shouldn’t condition our own bodies for drinking too much alcohol.  Neither should we make alcohol an acceptable part of our family traditions.  Certainly not an expectation that we drink.  Nor should we approve that our children accept or allow alcohol to become part of their future.  Maybe we should teach our children to say I want to stop drinking!

We said it before – we’ll say it again:

“Every parent should remember that one day their child will follow their example instead of their advice.”

Now you’ll understand just why teenagers and alcohol don’t mix.  If you would like to change the example you set for your children, but don’t know how, we can offer help to stop drinking.

Help to Stop Drinking

Alcohol is a poor lifestyle choice for us and our children.  Don’t encourage children to try alcohol, no matter how socially accepted it has been in the past.  We now know this is just not right.