Children understand what alcohol is at an early age.
- Children as young as four can tell the difference between wine and beer based on the shape of the bottle
- Children as young as five start to match alcohol brands to the products they sponsor
- Children as young as six can tell the difference between types of alcohol by smell
- Children under six don’t understand the purpose of advertising; they believe it to be informative or educational and struggle to separate advertising from the program or sport they’re watching
- Young people are exposed to more than three alcohol advertisements per day
- Almost 100% of movies reference alcohol and almost a third of all songs reference alcohol or drugs
What you can do
As your child’s first role model, you can show them how to drink alcohol and take medication responsibly.
In North Carolina many of us use alcohol to celebrate, commiserate, relax, and have fun – and children pick up on this. If you drink alcohol regularly, it’s a good idea to show your children that it isn’t a necessity by considering doing the following from time to time:
- Eating dinner without alcohol
- Using ways to wind down other than drinking
- Turning down a drink because you don’t feel like it at a party
- Organizing family events and catch-ups with friends where drinking isn’t the focus for the adults – think about other activities you could do together
- Watching sport without alcohol
It’s important to be your child’s parent, not their friend. If you use illegal drugs don’t use them when your child is around. You don’t have to tell your child about your own experiences with alcohol and drugs.
It’s not just our relationship with alcohol that gets passed down to our children. Our attitudes toward medication can also have a big influence.
In North Carolina, we are overusing pharmaceutical drugs, especially painkillers and medication to cope with stress, anxiety, and insomnia. Like any other drugs, pharmaceuticals can have side effects so it’s important to only take them when necessary and to follow the advice of a doctor or pharmacist.
You can teach your child early how to manage minor aches and pains without painkillers, such as:
- Ice packs or heat treatments, depending on what’s causing the pain
- Comfort with hugs and attention
- Distraction through games
- Rest and relaxation techniques
- Physical therapy