Guess Who’s Watching?Modeling Safe Drinking Behavior

Have you ever had that haunting feeling that you’ve become your mother, or that you sound just like dad?  That’s because you probably studied them as you were growing up.  You studied their mannerisms, their behavior, the way they spoke and what they did.  You may find you even use the same favorite saying, “Don’t do what I do, do what I say.” 

Some of those old sayings are not good rules for parenting.

It is important to remember that your children are studying you all the time, even when you’re relaxed and having fun on holidays like the 4th of July.  Cold drinks and summer fun go together.  Alcohol is often in that mix as family and friends gather for a good time. 

As parents, we can often be challenged as we try to model the behavior we wish to see in our children. As a parent you are role-model-number-one; the big cheese, and what your child longs to be.  This is why it is especially important for you to be mindful of your own behavior.   

If you want to make sure your kids learn to have fun without alcohol, then, show them that you can too!

If you want your kids to learn NOT to drink and drive, by all means DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!

Not even when you think you are fine and able to drive. 

Some parents wonder if letting their underage kids drink with them is safer.  Step back and think again! Here is the message you are sending:  drinking is okay and breaking the law is okay (legal drinking age in Maine is 21).  You are putting yourself in legal jeopardy by providing alcohol to your child or their friends   NEVER provide alcohol to someone else’s child!  

Here’s 5 tips for modeling healthy behavior:    

  1. Be moderate in your consumption of alcohol.  You might choose to drink, but not choose to be drunk.   
  2. Don’t approve of adults who are drinking too much, by laughing at their behaviors. 
  3. Talk to your kids about healthy social behaviors you want to see in them — regularly and often, including you feelings about underage drinking.
  4. Don’t drink and drive.
  5. Don’t provide alcohol to anyone underage.

This article was brought to you by Health Affiliates Maine.  Call 1-877-888-4304 for help with parenting, substance use and mental health problems, and other issues which effect families.

Author:  Luanne Rhoades LCPC, LADC, CCS – Outpatient Therapy Director

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