Should Children Drink Alcohol?

A lot of parents now are a lot less strict compared to parents in the 70’s or 80’s. Most parents can empathize with their kids easily. In other words, kids find it easy to open up to their parents about anything that’s going on with their lives. Alcohol treatment providers, such as Substance Rehabilitation in the UK, help teenagers

This is good news, for sure. Kids who have a healthy relationship with their parents have a higher tendency to better regulate their emotions. These kids also tend to develop healthier relationships with other people as they grow up. Their emotional, mental, and social skills also improve drastically.

However, just like all things, there’s a downside to this. Kids tend to mistake their parents’ openness with leniency. They think that just because their parents understand them, it means that they won’t face consequences if they do risky behaviours. Take for instance, drinking. Drinking alcohol serves as a rite of passage for a lot of people. It’s seen as something that’s cool or something that will make your peers accept you.

During adolescence, being a part of a friend group is crucial. Not having a group further isolates you from other teenagers. You’re labelled as someone who might be weird or uncool. The need to fit in pressures lots of young adults to do something they’re not comfortable with. Thus, they drink alcohol to fit in.

They reason that this will help them gain more friends. And hey, their parents drank when they were young as well. So, what’s the harm in drinking too, right?

Wrong.

Alcohol is a slippery slope. Many get addicted to it just because they had one bottle. Many spend years of their lives trying to recover from alcoholism.

However, things aren’t always as severe as this. In fact, many parents encourage their teens to drink alcohol under their supervision. Now you might be thinking, “Why on Earth would they do that?” It’s because there’s a thing called supervised drinking.

Before getting into that, children should always be discouraged from drinking alcohol. However, if their parents allow them to do so, the child should at least be 15 years old and above. This is according to Community Alcohol Partnerships or CAP. CAP is a collective effort between parents and other members of the community, such as the police and health providers. Their aim helps to reduce alcohol harm in the youth.

Back to supervised drinking. This is when a child’s parent or other adults are present when a teenager drinks. This helps mitigate teenage addiction to alcohol and also helps the teen establish a sense of responsibility when it comes to drinking. Through a parent’s guidance, teens will be able to consume alcohol in a controlled environment.

Nonetheless, drinking alcohol poses lots of risks. Here are 3 reasons why you should hesitate on giving your child a drink.

The statistics are concerning.

According to a study done by CAP back in 2009, a concerning 58% of parents are unaware of when and where children should consume alcohol. This study was done among 2,000 parents. CAP further adds that drinking alcohol should be done infrequently, i.e., not more than once a week. Furthermore, only 14% knew that having no alcohol at all is the healthiest choice for a child as they grow up.

The lack of knowledge on making supervised drinking a safe habit might not be possible anytime soon. The statistics further reinforce this. In order to make supervised drinking effective, more awareness about the consequences of alcohol should be amplified more.

The shot-term effects can be addicting

People drink alcohol for various reasons. It’s a social activity that many participate in and it’s depicted as cool in films and tv shows. But a lot of people drink alcohol because of the effects it brings. Once the alcohol enters your system, it interacts with the different parts of your body. Particularly, your brain. Alcohol triggers your endorphin levels, which ups your feelings of pleasure and happiness.

Who doesn’t like feeling pleasure, right? Thus, people constantly chase the feeling by consuming lots of alcohol. However, the feelings of pleasure also come with it addiction. Your body suddenly craves the pleasure all the time. As you keep drinking, your alcohol tolerance becomes higher. In other words, you constantly need a huge amount of alcohol in order for your body to release feelings of pleasure.

It does irreversible damages to your body and brain

Levels of intoxication depend on a person’s alcohol tolerance and weight. When you feel intoxicated, a moderate amount of alcohol has entered your bloodstream. Your reaction time slows down and your speech begins to slur.

These effects go away once the alcohol leaves your system. However, slow reaction time and slurred speech can become a permanent part of your life if you keep drinking alcohol. Aside from this, alcohol affects different parts of your brain.

The occipital lobe plays a huge part in visionary processes. Alcohol affects this part of the brain by making things blurry, thus drunk people often stagger. The temporal lobe, meanwhile, has a part in long-term memories. Because their temporal lobes are so severely damaged, drunk people have a hard time remembering things. The frontal lobes deal with movement and language, so when people are drunk, they often lose their balance and have a hard time speaking coherently.

Drinking alcohol feels good in the moment. It helps you temporarily forget about your problems that day. It helps you let loose your inhibitions. But the effects it has on a child’s developing brain can be detrimental. It can slow down different developmental milestones as well. Thus, a healthy and happy childhood should involve little to no alcohol as much as possible.

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