Hi, girl. Good morning. This is for the moms who wanted to see the information I gave my kids about underage drinking and alcoholism. The earlier you talk to them the better, girl. Certainly do this before age 13. We told our kids, “We are going to ask you to wait till you are 21 to drink. We know you are not doing this now. We want you to have good information about the truth of this well before we think you’ll have to deal with it. We trust you. We know that given the facts you will do the right thing to protect yourself from this horror (alcoholism).”
There is a ton of data out there. The younger a kid is when they take their first drink, experience their first drunkenness or start drinking regularly, influences the chance of their becoming an alcoholic later in life. If you have a family history, the chances of turning on that dependence (search ADH4 gene and alcohol) is even greater.
Here is one article. It cites it’s source for stating that, “Research has yielded strong evidence pointing to a familial connection. Youth who start drinking before age 15 are six times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life than those who begin drinking at or after age 21.”
I showed my kids a table in a textbook from a graduate school class I was taking at the time. I’ve long since gotten rid of the textbook, but the data is out there. You can print article after article to show them.
If you have a daughter, you should also discuss the different way that a female body processes alcohol and how alcohol use increases the risk of sexual assault. Here are a couple additional facts you may want to go over with your daughter:
1) Women have a smaller quantity of dehydrogenase, an enzyme that breaks down alcohol. 2) Premenstrual hormonal changes cause intoxication to set in faster during the days right before a woman gets her period. 3) Alcohol increases estrogen levels. Birth control pills or other medicine with estrogen increase intoxication.