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1 children and Help your children understand the dangers of alcohol Unfortunately mmany children and teens experiment withtry alcohol during their school years, long before it is legal for them to drink it. Although experimentation with alcohol may be common among childrenst kids, it is not safe or legal. As a parent, yyou have more influence on your children's values and decisions about drinking before they start using alcohol, so it is important to start discussing the risks of alcohol use with your children from an early age. 1,2 What are the risks of alcohol use? If children understand the risks associated with drinking alcohol, they may feel more empowered to say "no". Discuss both the short- and long-term consequences of alcohol use to make them aware of the associated dangers of alcohol use.with them: 1,3 Some of the short-term effects of alcohol abuse include distorted co-ordination, vision and hearing, impaired judgement, which can lead to accidents and risky behaviour such as unsafe sex or drug use and altered emotions and perceptions. The long-term effects can be even more dangerous and include liver cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, serious vitamin deficiencies and stomach, heart and nervous system damage. Short-term effects Distorted co-ordination, vision and hearing; Impaired judgement which can lead to accidents and risky behaviour such as unsafe sex or drug use; Altered emotions and perceptions; Hangovers; Alcohol poisoning; Weight gain; Dehydration; Poor sleep patterns; Bad breath. Long-term effects Liver cancer; Cirrhosis of the liver; Serious vitamin deficiencies; Memory loss; Stomach, heart and nervous system damage; Increased risk for impotence; Higher risk of binge drinking as adults.

2 What are the warning signs that your child may be using alcohol? The teenage years are a time of physical, emotional and social change, so your children's behaviour may change as he or shethey triesy to cope with teenage life. Below are some common warning signs that your children may be drinking alcohol: 1 The smell of alcohol on their breath or clothes; Changes in attendance at school; Changes in school grades; Sudden changes in mood or behaviour; Loss of interest in sports, hobbies, school or other activities; Withdrawal from friends and family; Discipline problems at school; Secrecy; Depression and/or developmental issues; Alcohol disappearing from your home; Involvement with new friends who they do not want you to meet.and a reluctance for you to meet them. Try not to jump to conclusions if you notice one or two signs - the teenage years are a time of physical, emotional and social change, so your child's behaviour may be erratic as he tries to cope with these changes. If your child is using alcohol, there will usually be a cluster of these signs, for example changes in friends, dress, attitude, behaviour, moods, and school grades. If you see a number of changes, talk to your child to find explanations, but don't overlook substance abuse as a possibility. Tips on talking to your children about alcohol Choose a time to talk when both you and your children have free time and feel relaxed. You don't need to cover everything at once.; Iin fact, it is better to talk to your children about alcohol on a number of occasions throughout their childhood. And remember to make it a conversation rather than a lecture. Here are some ideas to get you started: 3 Ask your children about their views on alcohol. For example,: what he or she they knows about alcohol,; what he or shethey feels about teen drinking and; why he or she they thinks teens drink. Share important facts about alcohol, why it is a powerful drug and, why it carries many risks, to help clear up any misconceptions.: Alcohol is a powerful drug that carries many risks. Beer and wine are not safer than hard liquor - all have the same effects on the body and mind. It takes, on average, two to three hours for one drink to leave a person's system. Coffee, cold showers and other 'sobering up' myths do not speed this process up. People are very bad at judging how seriously alcohol affects them, for example, believing they can still drive a car safely.

3 Discuss the many reasons reasons why teenagers must not drinka teen should not drink, such as legal and can have serious consequences and how it affects brain development.. o Drinking alcohol can be dangerous, resulting in accidents, drowning, sexual assault and unprotected sex. o Alcohol affects the developing brain, leading to long-lasting intellectual effects and increasing the risk of alcohol dependence as an adult. Be aware that the media's glamorous portrayal of alcohol leads many teens to believe thate drinking makes them cool, popular, happy and attractive. Help to counteract these myths by discussing how alcohol is portrayed in the movies and on TV. How to help your child resist alcohol Conversations about alcohol are important to help teach your children to say "no". Brainstorm ideas on how to handle situations in which they mightay be offered alcohol or where others may be drinking, and advise them against getting into a car with someone who has been drinking. Be a good role model and practice what you preach and make it clear to your children that you do not allow underage drinking. Keep track of your children's activities. Know their plans and whereabouts and encourage your children to build healthy friendships with children who do not drink so they have a good influence on your children. Also, encourage healthy alternatives to alcohol and plan fun, alcohol-free activities.while conversations about alcohol are vital, you also need to take concrete steps to help your child avoid underage drinking: 1,3 Teach your child to say "no". Brainstorm ideas on how to handle situations in which they may be offered alcohol or where others may be drinking. Be a good role model and show your child that you don't need to drink to have fun. Build your child's self-esteem, and teach them to manage stress in healthy ways. Monitor alcohol use in your home and make it clear to your child that you do not allow underage drinking. Connect with other parents, especially those that are hosting a party your child wants to attend. Keep track of your child's activities. Know their plans and whereabouts, and who they are spending time with. Develop family rules about drinking, such as no riding in a car with someone who has been drinking, and leaving a party where alcohol is served to teens. Help your child to build healthy friendships with children who do not drink and who have a good influence on your child. Talk to your child about the qualities they should look for in a friend, like trustworthiness and kindness. Encourage healthy alternatives to alcohol and plan fun, alcohol-free activities. Summary Many children and teens try alcohol during their school years, long before it is legal for them to drink.

4 Although experimentation with alcohol may be common amongst kids, it is not safe or legal. It is important to start discussing the risks of alcohol use with your children from an early age. Discuss both the short- and long-term consequences of alcohol use with your child. Be aware of the warning signs that your child may be drinking alcohol. Talk often with your child about alcohol and underage drinking. Take concrete steps to help your child resist consuming alcohol. Written by Dr Sian Stein, MBBCh. References 1. KidsHealth from Nemours website. Kids and Alcohol section. Available from: Accessed 10 July National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website. Talk To Your Child About Alcohol publication. Available from: Accessed 10 July Drink Aware website. Alcohol and your child section. Available from: Accessed 10 July Title: Children and Alcohol. H1: What are the risks associated with underage drinking, what are the warning signs that your child is drinking alcohol and what can parents do to help their children resist alcohol use? Summary/ Meta description: Many children and teens try alcohol during their school years, long before it is legal for them to drink. This article looks at the risks associated with underage drinking, the warning signs a child may be drinking alcohol, and what parents can do to help them. Comment [m1]: Meta description are just 160 characters. Tags: Body Children; teens; alcohol; school; drink; legal; risks; consequences; short-term; longterm; vision; hearing; judgement; impaired; co-ordination; sex; drug; emotions; hangovers; poisoning; dehydration; cancer; liver; cirrhosis; vitamin deficiencies; memory loss; stomach; heart; nervous system; damage; impotence; binge drinking; grades; mood; behaviour; withdrawal; discipline; secrecy; depression; developmental; brain; friends; substance abuse; beer; wine; hard liquor; sober; accidents; assault; dependence; media; popular; role model. All text below title heading until end of references

5 LV site location: Expert advice>articles Health interest area: Pregnancy & Parenting Sub category area: Child and Family Health Author: Dr Sian Stein Upload date: Submit to documentum date: Image

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