As a father, you are your child’s role model, shaping his/her view of the world and right and wrong. Observing your relationship with alcohol is part of your role modelling. What is your behaviour as a father teaching your child about alcohol?
TIPS AND QUESTIONS FOR FATHERS TO CONSIDER:
- Value your child: Do I balance time between friends, work, pub and social life, child and family?
- Lead by example: Do I lead by good example by the messages I give and in the way I behave around alcohol? What does a typical night out consist of for me?
- Open conversations: Do I encourage my adolescent to think about healthy choices around alcohol? Do I ask questions and ensure I listen to his/her answers? Do I try to find out his/her attitudes, beliefs and concerns about alcohol?
- Family messages and rules: Do I think about the family messages I give about alcohol to my child/adolescent? Or the impact of comments I and others make about alcohol where my child might hear?
Thinking about this, questions I might ask are:
- Where do I take my children where alcohol is present? How might this be influencing my child?
- Is drinking a daily or regular activity for me? Is alcohol always served at family mealtimes?
- Do I allow my children to sip or taste alcohol at home or at family events?
- If someone becomes intoxicated in my child’s company, how do I and other adults react?
- Do I discuss with my child how they cope with stress and social pressure? Have I let them know that they can talk openly to me about a problem?
- Are the adults who are close to my children good role models around alcohol?
- Have I family rules and consequences about adolescent drinking. Do I adhere to the rules? What helps me carry them through? Do my children’s friends and their parents know I have these rules? How do/did I inform them? Do I know the alcohol rules held by the parents of my children’s friends?
- Do I discuss with my adolescent why young people should not drink before 18 years old? Do I emphasise that alcohol adversely affects the developing brain and body? Have I explained that early alcohol use can lead to risk taking, poor performance in school and at sports and can have negative effects later in life? Do I tell him/her that there are alcohol guidelines even for adults to protect health and wellbeing?
5. Talk about friendship: Do I talk to my child about the qualities in a good friend? Do I practice empathy? Can I name my child’s best friends?
6. Engage and monitor: Do I engage my child in challenging, fun activities and organise non-alcohol events with friends and family? Do I always monitor my child’s whereabouts? Do I monitor alcohol use in the home and keep alcohol in a secure place?
7. Adhere to alcohol guidelines: If or when I drink, do I adhere to the HSE low-risk guidelines, showing self-discipline?
8. Self-care: Do I balance work, family life and self-care? Do I show healthy ways to deal with stress such as exercise rather than using alcohol to cope?
9. Belief: Do I believe in my own power as a father to help my child safely navigate the childhood and adolescent years, alcohol free?
10. Educate: Am I open to educating myself about my role and talking to other fathers?
Remember, a child who has a strong bond with parents is less likely to succumb to peer pressure to drink. Cherish and enjoy your role as a father.
GET IN TOUCH
Drinkaware offers a workshop to support parents to have the conversation about alcohol with their child/teen. For information, contact Martha Sweeney, Drinkaware Education Programme Manager. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org I Mobile: 087 919 7253