Kids are learning important lessons about alcohol during holiday parties
Traditionally, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is filled with celebrations office parties, open houses, cocktail hours and family dinners. It is a wonderful time to loosen up and have a little fun. But while we grown-ups are partying, it is important to remember who’s watching our children.
Most education professionals agree that kids model their behavior after their parents. That said, the holidays offer an excellent opportunity to teach by example.
Our advice? Take a sip and take a look around. If your child is nearby, spend a moment explaining your cocktail strategy for the evening.
The plan should include a limit on how many drinks you plan to have during the evening and a clear idea of whether or not, and when, you will need to drive again. You can point out that since you have to work in the morning, or because it’s snowing and you have to drive, you are going to opt for a nonalcoholic beverage. Or you might want to explain that you are going to stick to beer or wine because it is less potent than hard liquor.
If you would like some suggestions about how to talk to your children about the hazards of drinking, the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and Utah Prevention just launched a statewide campaign to help prevent underage drinking. This week’s kickoff was intentionally timed to coincide with the holiday season when liquor sales are booming and, presumably, so is consumption.
Part of the program includes a Web site, http://www.parentsempowered.org, with tips on how to talk to teens about the risks associated with drinking alcohol. The effort also features life-sized cardboard silhouettes of teens placed in liquor stores around the state with reminders about the perils of underage drinking.
But even a sophisticated advertising blitz won’t match the impact of a quiet one-on-one talk with your son or daughter or having them by your side as you tell a party host that you will pass on the spiked eggnog because you are the family’s designated driver.
The Park Record has always been a champion of liberalizing the state’s liquor laws because, we believe, given all of the information, citizens will make responsible choices. We also believe that kids begin learning responsibility at an early age and exposing them to real-life choices with guidance from their parents forms a strong foundation for their future.
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