Alcoholism in children

Filed under: Tweens, Teens, Health & Safety: Babies, Celeb Kids, In The News, Media, Day Care & Education

You know, there' s some truth to the notion that if you look hard enough you can find ANYTHING. I was trolling the ether this morning when I came across a topic I'd given little thought to: alcoholism in children.

Not since Drew Barrymore's now-infamous plight with alcoholism was made public to the world have I heard of children being alcoholics. Certainly I am aware of many whose parents are (or were) and who feel predisposed to following in their footsteps. Popular thought was that the alcoholic tendencies would set in in adulthood, or young adulthood,

According to this article, though, there is a dramatic increase in the number of children who are drinking and becoming alcoholics. Children as in under ten years old!

Part of me read this article, from Good Housekeeping, less as a cautionary tale and more as sensation--after all, they want to sell magazines to housewives across the country, yes? But the more I started thinking about it, whether or not childhood alcoholism is indeed an "epidemic" as cast by the article, it could be an area for concern.

I know when I was a kid booze was always around, if not easily obtainable. My father had--and still has, although he never entertains anymore--his own bar in every place we've lived. I mean an actual bar with an area behind a counter where alcohol was stored and from which friends and family could be served.

It seems like a lot of fun from the adult perspective, but I remember once when a friend of mine, who was a year older and I, snuck into the bar and sampled a taste of practically everything down there. I don't think we actually got drunk, basically because it all tasted SO BAD (except for what I think was a cordial), but the point is that the booze was there, it was available, and we were able to get into it.

As an adult, I do keep alcohol in the house, but now that I'm a mom I actually feel a little funny showcasing it! We inherited a number of old bottles of whiskey and scotch from my dad's collection but I have them tucked away for safekeeping. The old me would have proudly shown anyone who came over all my booze.

The article shares the stories we've all (sadly) heard before. The issue starts with one drink, often the result of peer pressure, which then leads to teen years filled with alcohol abuse. You may say you never heard of such a thing, and that when you were a teen no such thing occurred in your high school. I'd wager that plenty of drinking was going on in your high school. I knew several kids who were kicked out for drinking at school and several kids who went to counseling for alcoholism. And they were probably sixteen.

I'm not surprised to read this article, especially given the media circus surrounding certain young actresses who spend more time boozing it up than showcasing their talent. Are we living in a culture that actually indulges teenage and underage drinking? The media is certainly doing their best to promote that lifestyle.

Given my own experience with alcohol and what went on in my high school--which, by the way, was less than a hundred people--I know I'll be more aware of what my son does when he comes of age. That said, it looks like "of age" is starting to take on a whole new meaning.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.