There is little wrong with having a few drinks in a social situation and many adults like to let their down for a few hours after a busy week at work, but if you regularly drink booze in front of your kids, is that the right example to be setting?
We all know the devastation that some families can feel when a loved one has to get seek help from the Alcohol Recovery Centre, or any other similar support network for people with drink addiction problems, so could you be sending out the wrong message to your kids, if you drink in front of them?
Underage drinking is a significant issue
In a fair proportion of developed countries, underage drinking is a significant issue and in the United States for example, the Surgeon general estimates that almost nine million children and teenagers, between the ages of 12 and 20 to be specific, can be classified as underage drinkers.
There is no question that many teenagers are hard-wired for a bit of risk taking as they explore boundaries and look at try and developing adult habits, which means that there is always a potential temptation there to try some illicit drinking.
If you are a parent, the question you might be asking is whether you might be setting the right example about alcohol consumption, when you drink in front of your children on a regular basis.
Children are constantly learning from their parents and you could take the view that having a drink in front of your children gives you an opportunity to talk about the consequences of alcohol and underage drinking in particular.
There are a number of respected figures who provide guidance in this field, that take the view which is basically that drinking alcohol around your children is generally acceptable, provided you behave responsibly when doing so.
It is actually a chance to be a positive role model for your children and show them how to develop a healthy respect for drink. The message that you are trying to get across is that you can enjoy an alcoholic drink without resorting to drinking too much and too often.
It is always advisable to set some pretty firm ground rules surrounding alcohol usage in the house and talk to them about the consequences and issues relating to underage drinking and excessive consumption of alcohol in general.
Use your influence
The majority of children take their behavioral cues from their parents, which means that you have a great chance to influence the way your children view alcohol and what is considered to be acceptable and what is not, when it comes to drinking.
If you are drinking regularly as a way of unwinding after a hard day at work, take a moment to consider what sort of message that might be sending to your children, who are watching and learning from what you do and say.
Drinking every night after work at home, could easily be interpreted by your children as a message that you need to consume alcohol in order to be able to unwind. It should be remembered that most teens do have a respect for their parents and they will normally benefit from a frank discussion about alcohol and by following your lead, if you display a healthy attitude towards drinking and setting clear limits.
Reading your child
As a parent, you know your children better than anyone, which means that you can normally spot any potential issues surrounding the use of alcohol and raise concerns where necessary.
It is important to be actively involved with what they are doing and whether they are showing any signs of developing a problem with alcohol.
One of the ways that you can prevent them from potentially developing a problem with alcohol is to talk to them about drink at regular stages during their development. Before they reach their teenage years, children are actively learning about their bodies and their health, by the time they hit their teens, the emphasis is more about exploring new boundaries, which is they need to have a good understanding and take responsibility for their actions surrounding alcohol.
Underage drinking in the house should not be encouraged and it would be wise to try and steer your kids away from parties where you suspect or know that alcohol might be available to them.
Every family is different when it comes to how you gauge the impact of drinking in front of your children, but one thing is certain, you need to try and send out the right message and emphasize the negatives surrounding underage drinking.
Elizabeth Fisher works in the community care field and has worked closely with local schools to teach kids about substance misuse. She is now reaching out to parents in her articles as she discuses kids and alcohol and drug use and educating them on the facts.