Don’t Give, Buy or Serve Alcohol to Young People Under The Age of 18
The 2012 Survey of Students Knowledge and Attitudes of Drugs and Health released by the DNDC, where 2,060 9 to 11 year olds were surveyed showed the following:
Average age for first trying alcohol, even a sip, but not including wine at church, 8 years old
% of 9 year olds who had tried alcohol, even a sip, but not including wine at church, 17.4%
% of 10 year olds who had tried alcohol, even a sip, but not including wine at church, 25.3%
% of 11 year olds who had tried alcohol, even a sip, but not including wine at church, 33%
Additionally, the 2011 Bermuda Youth Survey, released by the DNDC, where 3,200 10 to 18 year olds were surveyed showed the following:
Average age for first trying alcohol 12 years old
% of 13 year olds who had tried alcohol 24.5%
% of 14 year olds who had tried alcohol 41%
% of 15 year olds who had tried alcohol 52.5%
These statistics are very troubling because it is proven that the younger a person is when they begin consuming alcohol, the more likely they are to become addicted to alcohol, those who begin consuming alcohol before the age of 15 are 4 times more likely to develop alcohol dependence (alcoholism) than those who wait until age 21, each additional year of delayed drinking onset reduces the probability of developing alcoholism by 14%.
As an adult, here's how you can prevent and stop underage drinking:
Do not give, buy or serve alcohol to young people under the age of 18
Giving alcohol to someone who is under the age of 18, or turning a blind eye when a young person is consuming alcohol is dangerous and irresponsible. Some adults use alcohol as a special occasion celebration, allowing young people to have a sip of beer, wine or champagne at special events. For the reasons stated earlier this is very harmful and dangerous.
Model responsible alcohol behavior infront of young people
Simply stated, children copy adults' behavior, therefore model restraint and set a good example. Your children will grow up to do what they have SEEN you do. If you choose to drink you can positively influence young people by drinking in moderation and never driving if you have been drinking. If you or your partner struggle with alcohol use, seek proffessional help. Call 295 5982.
Don't keep alcohol in your house, or lock it up
Take the alcohol out of your fridge and lock it up. Or better yet, don't keep alcohol in your house.
Talk with young people about why alcohol is harmful for them
Tell them that underage drinking is against the law and for good reason. Explain that alcohol is harmful for young people whose brains and bodies are still growing and developing. Begin talking with young people when they are 7, 8 and 9 years old. Make sure they know you do not expect them to consume alcohol or use drugs. Explain that there will be consequences if you discover they have stepped outside this rule. Unless you are clear about your rules and your position, children may be confused and thus tempted to use. Explain that you love them and are making these rules to keep them safe and healthy.
Have high expectations of your children
And tell your children what those expectations are. Tell them regularly what your expectations of them are, and there is strong likelihood that your children will begin to live up to your expectations. Tell them that you expect them to do well in school. Tell them that you expect them to refuse and stay away from alcohol or drugs. We must have expectations of our children and we must tell them what these expectations are.
Get your child involved in extra-curricular activities
Get your child involved in at least one sport or hobby and have them spend at least three hours/week with that sport/hobby. Additionally, enrol your child in some form of community service which they perform at least once/week.
Give love and praise to your children
Provide a high level of love and support to them, tell them you love them, spend time with them, listen to them. Be actively involved in helping them to succeed in school and in life.
Recognize good behaviour
Always let your children know how happy you are that they respect the rules of the household by praising them. Emphasize the things your children do right instead of focusing on what's wrong. When parents are quicker to praise than to criticize, children learn to feel good about themselves, and they develop the self-confidence to trust their own judgment.
To view more statistics on alcohol consumption among Bermuda's youth see pages 52 to 54 of The Bermuda Health Council 2011 Health in Review Survey
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