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Modeling Drinking Behavior

During summertime, your kids are spending a lot more time with you which means they are watching and learning from your behaviors more often. This is a perfect time for you to model responsible behavior especially when it comes to drinking. Studies show that if a parent uses or abuses substances in front of a child it is more likely that the child will start using substances at a young age or suffer from addiction later on. 


Although most parents do drink in front of their kids, you should be mindful and model responsible drinking behavior so your child learns the dos and don’ts at a young age. Here are a few questions to think about when it comes to drinking in front of your child.


  • Does every event you plan or attend, like BBQs, birthday parties, or holidays, have to have alcohol present?
  • How often are you drinking at home? Do you always keep alcohol at the house?
  • How many drinks do you have when you drink and how do you act afterward?
  • Do you have a negative reaction when alcohol isn’t available? 
  • Do you drink around your kids often or do you only do it when they aren’t around?
  • Do you ever drink and drive in front of your child? 
  • Does your child ever ask why you are drinking? What is your response? 


Some parents are conscious of their bad decision making but they don’t want their children to follow in their footsteps so they say “Do as I say and not what I do.” Unfortunately, kids are going to absorb way more information from watching what you do than listening to what you say.  

For example, drinking and driving in front of your child. Every time you get in the driver’s seat after drinking you are showing your child that it’s acceptable to break the rules and put others’ lives at risk because you feel fine or only had a couple of drinks. You can tell your child not to drink and drive, but they will remember the excuses you made and will mimic them when they are old enough to do so. You should always designate a driver to set a good example for your kids. 

If you found yourself answering yes to a few or more of the questions above, then you may want to reevaluate the example you’re setting for your children. We aren’t saying that once you have kids you have to give up drinking forever. However, you don’t want to show your kids that life revolves around alcohol. Show them how to drink safely and responsibly but also show them that you can have fun without alcohol. They may also be learning that alcohol makes people more outgoing or fun, so instead teach them about self-confidence from a young age so they don’t turn to drinking as a way to make themselves more likable. 


By//Jessica Lee 



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