The Surgeon General states that, “today, nearly 10.8 million youth, ages 12-20, are underage drinkers,” which has many parents wondering: is it okay to drink around my children? Whether it is your New Year’s resolution to drink less alcohol around your children or you’re wondering how to set a positive example about responsible drinking for your family, check out these guidelines for drinking alcohol around your children.
Drinking around kids?
Experts agree that drinking alcohol around your children is acceptable, so long as you do so responsibly. But, it is important to open the lines of communication about the consequences of underage drinking.
“Parents who are looking for guidelines on the topic of drinking in front of your children should review the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking,” offers John Bowersox of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Be a positive role model
Show your children that you can enjoy an alcoholic drink without drinking too much or too often. In addition, a strong connection between parents and kids versus more independent children will increase the chance that your kids will turn to you when making decisions about drinking, instead of their friends.
Set clear ground rules
The Surgeon General advises parents to set rules against underage drinking in your home, for both your family and your kids’ friends. Also consider restricting your youngster from attending any parties where alcohol will be served to minors.
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Arm yourself with answers
When faced with the age-old question, “why is it okay for you to drink but it’s not okay for me?” Explain to your child that the legal drinking age for the United States is 21 years old. And, until that age, his brain and body is still developing. Drinking before your body is finished growing can hinder and damage it.
Give your kids the tools to make good decisions about drinking
Drinking alcohol around your children can be acceptible if you open the lines of communication. Talk to your kids early and often about the risks and consequences of underage drinking. Explain that there is nothing wrong with adults of legal drinking age consuming alcoholic beverages responsibly will reduce the possibility of sending your kids a mixed message.
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When it is okay to serve your minor child alcohol?
Despite laws establishing legal drinking ages in each state, there are, however, legal exceptions to the underage drinking rule. Minors can consume alcohol for use during religious ceremonies, but never to the point of intoxication. In addition, in many states, you can legally serve alcohol to your minor child when your child is in visible sight.
The decision to drink around your children is a decision you and your partner must come to together, as each family is different. But, following the guidelines set forth by the Surgeon General, it can be easier to send the right message about the negatives of underage drinking to your offspring, regardless of what you decide.