“Children who drink at younger ages are the ones who need help most. We also know that children whose parents misuse alcohol are more likely to develop their own problems later in life” ~Simon Antrobus, chief executive of drug and alcohol rehabilitation charity Addaction
I am being interviewed today on LBC Radio http://www.lbc.co.uk/ about an extremely depressing new report that suggests that some children as young as 12 are drinking the equivalent of 19 glasses of wine a week. The report interviewed 83,000 school pupils from around the UK.
A study by the Schools Health Education Unit found that 4% of the 12- to 13-year-olds surveyed drank 28 or more units of alcohol in the last week.
This exceeds the Government’s daily unit guidelines for men (three to four units) and women (two to three units).
Three units equates to two small (125ml) glasses of wine (12%) or a whole pint of strong lager (5%) or cider, according to the charity Drinkaware.
I have written a great deal about booze, weight, and sleep issues because unlike many other parenting experts and authors, I actually have two teenage children of my own, so I know first hand about teaching, guiding, nurturing and passing on my values around alcohol, issues around weight and making sure my teenagers get enough sleep.
The first thing is to remember that we are all role models as parents, whether we like it or not, and our children are always watching, observing and learning from us ALL the time. They notice what we say but they also really notice how we act and behave around all of these very important topics.
Bringing up children has never been easy – but now we, as parents have the pressure of negotiating our way through the choppy waters of binge drinking, casual sex and recreational drug taking – to say nothing of our kids being connected to technology 24/7 and exhausted by the “buzz” of the red light flashing on their smartphones while watching TV, listening to their ipod and chatting on social media on their laptop.
It’s tough sometimes raising happy, confident, well rounded, kind adults – it needs confidence, positively and parents stepping up to be leaders in their family and putting firm, fair and consistent boundaries around their kids behaviour, whatever their age.
I am not here to be my children’s friend – I am here to be their Mum and sometimes that has made me unpopular but that’s my role and my job as a parent. We get on really , really well and I am very proud of my son , who has just gone off to University and my daughter who has just started 6th FormCollege.
I wrote my Navigating The Choppy Waters of The Teenage Years CD to pass on some of my practical ideas for bridging the often difficult gap of transition of the teenage years from young person to responsible adult. I also wrote my “Living the Dream” CD exclusively for teenagers to empower them with the positive and confident mindset and attitude they need to succeed in a challenging world
My “Raising Happy Children For Dummies” book has a great deal in it around these issues and here are a selection of my articles and advice on dealing with these difficult topics in your house.
Please let me know your thoughts of practical and positive ways to help kids growing up today.
Click here to read the BBC News article