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Teen DRINKING - Parents best role models PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Deccan Chronicle   

Lead by example and be a friend to your child, feel experts

With research suggesting that the longer kids delaydrinking, the lower the risk of alcohol problems later, a clear directive might help simplify things for parents wondering how - or if they should introduce alcohol to their kids.

Says Paul Dillon, the author of a new book for parents, Teenagers, Kids and Alcohol adds, “If you take two bottles of wine along when you go out to dinner, or you drink on every social occasion, children learn more about alcohol and socialising from what they see you do than from anything you might say to them. Yet many parents don’t realise this.” A recent study has shown that maximum consumption of alcohol is between 14 and 18 and Mumbai ranks the highest in India.

“I have heard from friends that in South Bombay teens start drinking at 14!” exclaims actress Madhoo.

“I feel it is such a vulnerable, impressionable age that they cannot handle chemicals in a drink. I would say my children should be as old as they can be and I know its wishful thinking.

But it is very important to keep telling them now when they are really young what is good and what is bad; about peer pressure; and building values.

Hopefully it will reach the right place and they will be able to take the right decision.” Actor Jackie Shroff believes the best option would be to get them into any kind of sports. “With both parents now working, sports is the best option rather than sitting idle and depending on friends.” Alcohol is a huge problem among teens and even pre-teens these days.

Psychiatrist Dr Sanjay Chugh explains, “The developing brain has a neural circuit formation till the age of 21. Any substance like alcohol is bound to damage them or disrupt the development. There is no point living in denial and thinking that ‘this won’t happen with my kid’.

The problem is everywhere and can very well happen to your kid. Prohibition and restriction will only make children more curious and rash.” Jackie, who has had his share of drinking related problems also feels learning begins at home. “If you see your father smoke, you feel like smoking. You cannot blame your child for imitating their peers as the basic values comes from home. I have told my children that there was no one to guide me about the vices and it has ruined my health.

Drinking is a drug and it is available off the shelf!But children can be taught the evils of drinking like psoriasis, kidney failure, mental degeneration etc then I don’t think they will even want to try it!” Sandalwood actor Ramesh Aravind also agrees with him when he says “You need to introduce the bad effects of alcohol when their minds are impressionable and still in our control!” Dr Chugh believes that children learn from what they see. “If, as a parent, you have been drinking, be prepared to answer awkward questions. The more honest you are with your child, the better are the chances that he or she will be away from alcohol.”


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