Q. I am concerned that my kids
may be at higher risk for developing alcohol-related problems
if they start drinking at a very young age. What are the risks?
A. Some children are more likely
than others to develop alcohol-related problems. Kids at highest
risk are those who:
- Begin using alcohol or other drugs
before the age of 15
- Have a parent who is a problem drinker
or an alcoholic
- Have close friends who use alcohol
and/or other drugs
- Have been aggressive, antisocial, or
hard to control from an early age
- Have experienced childhood abuse and/or
other major traumas
- Have current behavioral problems and/or
are failing at school
- Have parents who do not support them,
do not communicate openly with them, and do not keep track
of their behavior or whereabouts
- Experience ongoing hostility/rejection
from parents and/or harsh, inconsistent discipline
The more of these experiences a child
has had, the greater the chances that he or she will develop
problems with alcohol. Having one or more risk factors does
not mean that your child definitely will develop a drinking
problem. It does suggest that you may need to act now to help
protect your youngster from later problems.
Delaying the onset of drinking is certainly
a good place to start!
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