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Why should I talk to my children about alcohol?
It is difficult to know when to talk to a child about alcohol and what to say. Most children are aware of alcohol from the early stages of their life and it would be ideal to talk to them about alcohol consumption before they start experimenting with it.

If you find they've already started, it's important to understand why they have done it.

Whatever you say or do really influences your child, so you should make sure that they know enough about alcohol and its consumption, so that they can make sensible choices in the future.

When should I mention the subject?

Try not to force the subject - it's better to wait until the subject comes up naturally. You could find an article in the newspaper about alcohol or something that's on television or wait until your child asks you questions about drinking.
Do whatever feels comfortable for you and your family, but ideally you should discuss the issue before your child starts experimenting with alcohol or faces peer pressure. Be prepared to say NO if you don’t feel comfortable with the child’s participation in parties and lay down ground rules.

What should I say?

Even young children know which behaviour is or isn't acceptable for adults and children when it comes to alcohol. Therefore, you can start talking to them at quite an early age. Parenting duties aren't taught and there’s no schedule for bringing up children. Every child and every family is different, and we all communicate in our own way.
 You should aim for a balance: warn them of the dangers, e.g. taking aspirin with alcohol which may lead to alcohol poisoning, and make them aware of the laws. Moreover, tell them that they can enjoy moderate consumption of alcohol in social events when they're adults if they choose to.
 The important thing is to focus on the facts and to give your child the knowledge and skills to avoid the dangers associated with alcohol. You can explain the effect of alcohol on the body and mind, and that even small amounts will affect our ability to make rational judgements and sensible decisions.