To The Editor:
One of the main on-going concerns for many parents is problems associated with alcohol being abused by their children or other children. Parents can be proactive by getting involved in alcohol abuse prevention efforts. Parents can teach their children decision making skills regarding the consumption of alcohol by setting a good example vis-à-vis their personal drinking behaviors.
Many parents serve alcohol with meals to enhance the flavor of the food. They may also have toasts before celebrations and holidays. The message to their children is, serving alcohol adds to special occasions. A parent may say after a difficult day at work, “I am going to work out before supper.” The message to their children is manage stress by engaging in positive activities.
Other parents unknowingly send mixed messages to their children. For example, after a hard day at work, a parent may come home and say something like, “I need a drink.” The message to the child is, to cope with difficult times drink alcohol. When entertaining friends, they may relive their younger days by sharing stories related to their drinking escapades. This message paints a picture of the drinking life the child may try to emulate.
When children enter college adjusting to a new environment can be stressful. They are away from parental supervision and encounter many difficult decision situations including ones related to consuming alcohol. Students who learned to drink alcohol with situations and cope with stress by engaging in positive activities are likely to make decisions in drinking situations that do not result in problems. Students who learned to drink at situations, use alcohol to deal with stress, and copy their parents’ drinking activities are predisposed to make decisions in drinking situations that may result in serious problems.
PhD, MA, MS
Department of Business Administration
Eastern Connecticut State University