Jill Edwards Says...
Should I teach my daughter how to drink responsibly? She is 16. Last night she was sleeping over at her best friend’s house when her friend’s mom called us up after midnight and aid the girls had come home drunk from some party they snuck out to. I am thinking about teaching her to how to handle 2 or 3 drinks so she can get used to how that feels like in a safe environment. I would strongly advice her not to drink more than this amount ever. Good idea or not? I wish I could just make not drink at all but I just don’t think this is a practical plan.
I tend to see this in the bigger context of how we teach younger people to be safe in social situations. We need to be clear that drinking puts anyone at greater risk of making poor decisions. In this context, the more we drink, the greater the risk. So how much we drink, helps to keep us less at risk of getting involved with unsafe sex, unsafe people, agreeing to unsafe activities, getting involved in fights and so on. So there is something to be learned about supporting each other when groups go out to drink, so as to avoid eding up in a police cell.
I tend to question the idea that you can teach people to get used to taking 2 or three drinks. The damage that alcohol can do to brain functioning happens whatever people think. It is useful thought to teach people some clear rules about safety, so that these might remain in place, whatever the circumstances. So again it is a general safety education which will support your daughter. As part of this education, they need to know that alcohol is an addictive substance. Taken regularly, in quantity, a person will find that more of it is required in order to get the drunken feeling and if they continue, a time will come when they will have symptoms of withdrawal and their lives will be really damaged by addiction to alcohol. This pattern is more common than is understood. 15% or 1 in 7 drinkers will find themselves dependent at some time in their life, and this includes women as well as men., children
You are right that young people are likely to explore the use of alcohol as well as many experiences. We all have to help them to do this as safely as possible, and much of this is around education and safety. It is also true that you may not like to have your daughter coming home drunk and you are entitled to express your displeasure and to let them know that drunk people do not make a good impression on anyone.
Finally, you can help your daughter by not at any time drinking to excess yourselves. Young people learn more and give greater respect to example than to words. My best wishes to you all. Jill Edwards
Page last updated Dec 27, 2012