The main source of alcohol is the parents themselves. Children are exposed to their parents (and friends or relatives) in an intoxicated situation. They are used to seeing cupboards with all types of liquor and refrigerators full of beer. Parents drink beer or liquor freely in front of children which gives the impression that such an act is normal. Statistics show that 40% get their supply from the home. Only 5% buy intoxicating drinks themselves. Underage drinking sometimes starts in the home.
Since the above situation is difficult to change or control, parents should be aware of the negative effects of underage drinking. They should make time and effort to teach responsible drinking to their kids.
The “Mediterranean model” of introducing alcohol to young people, where they are gradually allowed to drink small amounts in the presence of their parents, has been popular with many parents. However, the concerning levels of binge and underage drinking in Australia suggests that this has not worked. Early initiation to drinking is related to an increase in alcohol use, alcohol dependence, and early binge drinking and social problems associated with drinking. Another research shows that children who first had alcohol before 15 years old are likely to abuse 5 times more than those who start at an older age.
While there is no safe level of drinking, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol, recommend: For children and young people under 18 years of age, not drinking is the safest option; Parents and carers are advised that children under the age of 15 are at greatest risk of harm from drinking and it is especially important that they do not drink alcohol; If young people aged 15–17 years choose to drink they should be in a safe environment, supervised by adults and stay within the low risk guidelines.
But the bottom line is that the best prevention is not to allow underage drinking habits to start.