This latest BBC story highlights the issue of alcohol abuse in young children but maybe we shouldn’t separate Alcohol from Drugs. I suspect that the same age group is having problems with drugs as well. And why wouldn’t they copy older teenagers and young adults in their community? It is a natural part of growing up.
Like drugs education, the usual alcohol education that is delivered to our children is often ineffective. There are cries for more legislation and more controls to reduce the access children have to alcohol. But what use is that if they see their elder brothers and sisters imbibing excessively and getting into risky behavior.
Part of the problem is that Alcohol has been a real positive in our history, in moderation. It used to be that beer was drunk in preference to water because it was safer. The alcohol killed the bugs. But that that was usually weak beer.
Many communities drink frequently and regularly yet have few drink problems. And for many alcohol is a “Gift of the Gods”. Alcohol is a positive when used in moderation. As with all things in life excess produces problems and Abuse of Alcohol does need to be stopped. Prohibition does not work, what is required is good role models as our children grow up. It is not enough to say to children “Do not drink” and then go on and drink a little too much oneself.
Children are very good at spotting hypocrisy.
We live in a drinking world. Children need to learn how to live in that world.
They need to understand why we don’t drink and drive and why some activities and alcohol do not mix. They need learn how to say no, politely.