MBOMBELA – Parents are not sufficiently educating their children about the dangers of alcohol.
Sanca Lowveld’s Marina Erasmus said their experience was that parents did not talk to their children enough about what was expected from them when it came to drinking alcohol.
“Most just assume that their children are automatically informed about the legal age of the use of alcohol, which is 18 years.”
She said parents themselves did not know why the use thereof is illegal for those under 18.
Other factors contribute to many failing to address the topic with their own children.
These include not being a role model themselves when it comes to alcohol use, not knowing what responsible drinking is, not setting clear boundaries about the use thereof in the home, and regularly abusing it themselves.
The following are some disturbing facts submitted by the National Association for Children of Alcoholics
• Alcoholism and other drug addiction tends to run in families. Children of addicted parents are the highest risk group of those becoming alcohol and drug abusers due to both genetic and family environment factors.
• Recent studies suggest a strong genetic component, particularly for early onset of alcoholism in males. Sons of alcoholic fathers are at fourfold risk compared with those of non-alcoholic fathers.
• Some try to be a friend rather than a parent to their child, buying liquor for their underage child and drinking with them “so that they can be exposed and experiment at home” – and not get intoxicated at their friends’ homes where you as a parent have less control.
• They have lack of information on the topic because the parent does not consider it as important or relevant enough.
• Some parents have poor relationships and communication with their children.
• Living in ignorance or denial contributes – because it will not happen to their child as they consider them to be good and hang out with the right crowd.
Tips that will help you guide your child
• Never assume your child will not drink alcohol (obviously without your consent if he or she is under 18).
Rather make sure that he or she is at least informed about what is responsible drinking.
• Don’t be guided by the feeling of intoxication – but rather on the quantity of how much you are consuming. Yes, counting your intake of alcohol and food counts. Be well aware of how much alcohol you put into your body.
• Always protect your brain from intoxication – you never know when you are going to need it in an emergency – to help your friend or protect yourself.
• Have a valid excuse ready for friends who want to manipulate you to use more alcohol when you have already reached the limit of your intake.
• Never get into a vehicle with a driver who has exceeded the limit, even if he or she does not appear drunk.
• Set boundaries on times and places where your child should be.
• Your child needs to be able to contact you as a parent or another responsible person when they feel uncomfortable or in a risky situation, without fear that there would be conflict about it.