Should I start drinking alcohol for health reasons?

Information for parents

Alcohol gets interesting

Your child is now at the age where they are likely to try alcohol for the first time. It wants to break away from its parents more and more and test its limits. With addictive substances such as alcohol and cigarettes, young people like to try out what it's like to go overboard. You shouldn't worry too much about that at first. This belongs to the puberty phase and is therefore normal.

However, for health reasons, it is best if children and adolescents under the age of 16 do not drink alcohol at all. Because at this age the physical development is not yet complete, especially the brain is very sensitive. In addition, the earlier adolescents drink alcohol, the greater the risk of later drinking habitually or becoming dependent.

While some adolescents withdraw during puberty, others may seek confrontation with their parents. It is often difficult for parents to find the right balance in this phase: on the one hand not to be too fearful, on the other hand not to trivialize anything or to let everything go. But trust and control are not mutually exclusive. Having trust doesn't mean you can't set boundaries. On the contrary: borders are important orientation aids for young people and give them security.

How do you behave towards your child now?

Take your time, talk, listen

  • Take your time, listen, show interest, and talk to each other. Even if your child may be very cool and serene, they often feel insecure and are not as self-confident as they appear on the outside. Even if you don't notice much of their insecurities and problems, you should still be there for your child.
  • However, many children of this age do not necessarily want to talk to their parents about their feelings and thoughts. It is important to accept this. You also give your child support by simply spending time together. Signal that you are open to questions and support.
  • Always take your child seriously and take the time to talk to you. Even if what your child is currently concerned with seems rather unimportant.
  • Make sure that joint discussions are not just about criticism and prohibitions. Often young people then withdraw.

Show rules and limits

  • Draw clear lines: As long as your child is under 16 years old, there should be no alcohol, not even at the birthday party.
  • Even if you know that your child has already tried alcohol, clear rules should apply and be followed at home. This is easier for children to understand and adhere to than rules that are repeatedly weakened.
  • Explain to your child why you make these rules and talk to them about the dangers of alcohol.
  • If your child comes home drunk at the age of 14 or 15, or if you have the impression that their clique is drinking too much alcohol: Don't ignore it, speak to them.

Remaining a role model

It is also very important that you are credible about your own drinking habits. Because even at this age, the influence of the parents continues.