England’s chief medical officer has today released new guidelines, advising that children under 15 should not drink alcohol at all, and that from 15 – 17, they should only have alcohol under supervision, and only in very small amounts.
To me, this is very sensible advice. I appreciate that some people feel that if young children are allowed limited amounts of alcohol, it can demystify it.. but surely that can be done by spending time talking to your children, about alcohol and it’s effects? By allowing, and even encouraging, young people to experience alcohol, are we not giving them the message that it’s totally acceptable, and even expected?
Let’s not forget that alcohol is a drug, with many effects on our physical and mental health, so it’s certainly not something that I’m going to hand to my daughters.
Yes, alcohol is part of our culture, and is part of society, but surely it should be part of our adult culture, with our children being taught this?
My 9 year old is very inquisitive about the world, and we’ve already started to discuss issues such as this, as well as smoking and drugs. I’ve explained some of the effects of these substances, and I’ve also told her that whilst I very much hope she will steer clear of smoking and drugs, that I know that she will wish to try alcohol.. but I certainly don’t expect her to do this until she is much older.
There’s a good website about alcohol and drinking, run by The Drink Aware Trust – it’s a good place to find the facts.
How about the other mums out there.. do you let your young children drink, or do you think these guidelines are a good thing?