If you’re the parent of young children and are thankful that you don’t yet have to deal with the potential problem of underage drinking, think again. According to a recently-released report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parents should start talking to their kids about the dangers of drinking before they’re 10 years old.
The AAP’s recommendation coincides with that of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). That group’s research has found that many kids have at least tried alcohol by the time they’re in middle school. However, only a third of parents say that they didn’t address drinking with their children until they were in high school.
According to the AAP report “children start to think positively about alcohol between ages 9 and 13 years.” It went on to say, “The more young people are exposed to alcohol advertising and marketing, the more likely they are to drink, and if they are already drinking, this exposure leads them to drink more.”
While parents may feel sometimes that they have little if any influence over their kids’ behavior, in fact, 80 percent of teens report that their moms and dads actually had more impact over their decisions regarding alcohol than anyone else.
While all conversations with kids need to be age-appropriate, it’s important for parents to know that alcohol is one of the leading causes of fatalities in young people. This includes car crashes, suicides and homicides that are alcohol-related. MADD offers resources to help parents discuss the subject with their kids.
Of course, there are also potential legal consequences for underage drinking, whether a young person gets behind the wheel of a car or not. If your child is arrested for an alcohol-related crime, those consequences could impact his or her educational opportunities and even career opportunities later on. That’s why it’s essential to seek guidance from an experienced Maryland attorney who can work to mitigate the impact of an underage drinking or DUI arrest on your child’s life.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “When should you talk to your kids about alcohol? Before they turn 10, doctors say,” Brady Dennis, The Washington Post, accessed Oct. 18, 2017