Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry research shows that there are certain things that parents can do to reduce the risk of alcohol related harm to their children and thus prevent underage drinking problems:
- Parents should not get intoxicated infront of their children;
- Parents should not supply their children with alcohol;
- Parents should always express warmth and affection to their children;
- Parents should maintain positive communication with their children;
- Parents should monitor their childrens’ activities to include knowing who their children go out with; and
- Parents should reprimand and give sanctions for any wayward behaviour.
“One of the key issues coming out of this research is the lack of any evidence showing that normalising the use of alcohol is a good prevention strategy” says Professor Doug Sellman of the University of Otago, Christchurch, who was invited to write an accompanying commentary.
“In fact the opposite is the case. The less alcohol is normalised in family life, and particularly when parents avoid being at all intoxicated in front of their children or supplying them with alcohol, the better the prevention of alcohol problems in young people will be” he says. Underage drinking is better prevented if children do not see parents and older people intoxicated.
The study also showed their is a clear evidence that government participation is also a vital element. Government should institute that alcohol is not an ordinary product and that heavy drinking is not a normal act. Underage drinking habits is also prevented if alcoholic drinks are not easily available. The 1989 alcohol reforms was big mistake and should be given another thought. The act gave easy access to young people thus opening doors to alcohol related problems.
Underage drinking dangers are quite obvious and with parents and government working hand in hand the prevention of inculcating such habit in children can be stopped.