Topic 4 Answering Your Child’s Questions about Alcohol

What does alcohol taste like?

You could say:

A lot of alcohol can taste bitter or sour. Because your taste buds change, as you get older, you’ll probably dislike the taste of alcohol.

How much is safe to drink?

You could say:

The more you drink, the greater the chance of developing alcohol-related problems or long-term health conditions.

Is drinking dangerous? How much can I drink for my age?

You could say:

Yes, it is at your age, because your body is still developing. Drinking alcohol could damage your liver, it could affect your brain development and even your performance at school. Drinking can also make you less aware of danger, meaning you are more likely to hurt yourself or others could get hurt.

Can alcohol make you sad?

You could say:

Yes it can. It doesn’t just affect you physically; alcohol can also affect your mood and emotions. Sometimes people feel sad because they do things when they have been drinking that they wouldn’t normally do. Alcohol has also been linked to more serious mental health issues like depression.

What does it feel like to be drunk?

You could say:

Drinking affects everyone differently. Some people get dizzy or do silly things.

Alcohol can make some people feel more emotional – some people can get angry, sad or make them laugh more. Being drunk can also be dangerous because it can lead to accidents and injury.

Why can some people drink more alcohol than others with no effect?

You could say:

Everyone reacts differently to alcohol. Your height, weight and gender are just some of the factors that play a part in how alcohol affects you. Even what you’ve had to eat that day or how much sleep you’ve had recently can make a difference to how you feel when you drink

People can build a tolerance which means that you might not notice the effects of alcohol as much, but this isn’t a good thing because the more you drink the greater risk to your health.

Can I take alcohol to a party if I’m under 18?

You could say:

No, because I don’t want you drinking alcohol at your age, even if your friends drink. If you

break our rules you can’t go. I know you might find it hard just to say no, so tell them

you’ve got something on tomorrow and can’t drink tonight.

Can I try a sip of your drink?

You could say:

It’s not illegal for a parent or guardian to give their child alcohol at home if they are aged over five years old. However, if you don’t want to, you could say: “No, not even a sip. You may feel grown up but your body is still developing, and alcohol can harm you at your age.

Can I try alcohol on a special occasion?

You could say

No. I don’t want you drinking alcohol. You may feel grown up, but your body is still developing and alcohol can harm you at your age. Children and their parents and carers are advised that an alcohol-free childhood is the healthiest and best option. However, if children drink alcohol underage, it shouldn’t be until at least the age of 15 years.

My friends have all tried booze, so why can’t I?

You could say:

What other kids get up to is not my business – you are. Alcohol, even a small amount,

would harm you now and I love you far too much to risk that.

It looks really fun, why are you trying to stop me enjoying myself?

You could say:

Yes, it can be fun when your body is fully grown, and even then it can lead to problems. Hangovers or having to remember the stupid things you did while drunk aren’t fun. Let’s think of other things you can do to unwind or have fun. But drinking isn’t one of them – it’s bad for you and I say no.

I’m not a child, I’m at secondary school now.

You could say:

You’re right, you’re not a child. You’re a teenager, an adolescent. And that means that while you’re a lot more mature than a child your body is still developing. Show me how mature you are by researching some of the drawbacks of drinking at your age and then let’s talk some more about this.

When I’m older can I have some?

You could say:

Maybe. After that you might be able to have alcohol on special occasions – never more than once a week. And never more than the recommended alcohol unit guidelines. But I think 15 is a limit, not a goal. The longer you leave it, the healthier you will be. Don’t forget it’s against the law for you to buy alcohol or for anyone to sell it to you or buy it for you until you are 18.

Why do you and other adults drink?

You could say:

Adults drink for different reasons. I like the way it tastes when I have it with my dinner. You know I drink non-alcoholic drinks too, like cocktails and no-alcohol beer.

When did you have your first drink?/Did you drink alcohol when you were on my age?

You could say:

Probably before I should have. And I wish I hadn’t. If my parents had known then what I know now I’m sure they would have tried as hard as I’m trying to keep you safe. Just because I did it doesn’t mean you should copy me or that I don’t know better now.

Why won’t you answer me?!

You could say:

You’re right – I’m sorry. We should talk about alcohol. I’m avoiding it because I’m worried and embarrassed you might catch me

out or I won’t have the answers. So let’s sit down and have a proper talk. We can both find out the facts we need, the important

thing is to listen to each other.