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Solutions Given To Parents To Curb Kids' Drinking

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Solutions Given To Parents To Curb Kids' Drinking

Wellington, Sept 26 NZPA - Parents have been given six strategies to help reduce the risk of alcohol-related harm in their children, in research being published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry.

However, the common belief that normalising drinking is a good way to prevent alcohol abuse among young people was not backed up by the evidence, said Professor Doug Sellman of the University of Otago.

And talking to young people about alcohol and the risks of heavy drinking did not appear to be particularly effective.

The research aimed to identify what parents could do to implement Australian national guidelines for drinking alcohol by people under 18.

Parents not getting drunk in front of children, and not supplying them with alcohol, were two of the factors put forward by the research.

"The less alcohol is normalised in family life, and particularly when parents avoid being at all intoxicated in front of their children or supplying them with alcohol, the better the prevention of alcohol problems in young people will be," said Prof Sellman, who was invited to write a commentary to the research.

The other, more general, parenting strategies were monitoring children's activities and who their friends were, disciplining over "wayward" behaviour, expressing warmth and affection, and keeping up positive communication.

Giving parents practical strategies was more helpful than just recommending zero drinking for young people to curb alcohol-related problems, he said.

Increasing the price, and lowering the accessibility and advertising, of alcohol by the Government would promote the idea that alcohol was not an ordinary commodity, and that heavy drinking was not normal, said Professor Jennie Connor, Head of Preventive and Social Medicine at the University of Otago.

"Normalisation was one of the great selling points of the 1989 alcohol reforms, which opened the flood gates for supermarket sales and ubiquitous cheap alcohol supply," Prof Connor said.

"This has turned out to be a mistake and needs to be turned around."

Changes proposed by the Government in August, following the Law Commission report on alcohol-related harm, focus on reducing the proliferation of bottle stores, trading hours and liquor advertising, and a split purchasing age of 18 for bars and restaurants and 20 for off-licences.

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