LOOK!: HEALTH: Uncork Talk on Drinking; Why You Should Talk to Your Children about Alcohol
Byline: Jane Woodhead
IT'Sa tricky subject and one which many parents dread bringing up with their children. Just how do you tackle the thorny subject of booze with your kids -or even stop them drinking if they've already started?
The dangers of alcohol are taught in school but long before this subject is even raised,many youngsters have already tried a tipple.
It could be that they get involved with a ``bad crowd'',or simply hanging around on a street corner at night and having a drink seems ``the thing to do to pass the night away''.
Experts believe children are now forming attitudes about drinking from the age of five and by the age of seven most children have already tasted alcohol. Between the ages of 10 and 13 it is believed that most children will have had their first alcoholic drink,as opposed to just a taste.
And it is by the age of 16 that youngsters start to drink more heavily.
Liverpool's Alder Hey hospital treats around 70 children every three months for drink related illnesses.
Lynn Owens,nurse consultant in alcohol services at the Royal Liverpool University hospital, says:``Many parents wonder when they should talk to their children about alcohol,if at all. Children will often ask about alcohol and drinking when they are very young and when this happens a positive response is far better than simply just avoiding the issue.
``Most parents do not see the need to raise the subject until their children reach their teens, when they apparently start to drink alcohol but you should talk to your children far earlier than this, before they have the opportunity to experiment.''
Mrs Owens treated a patient who started drinking at the age of 14.
The girl, who does not want to be identified, is from a middle class family and ``just got into the habit'' of drinking wine.
Mrs Owens adds: ``I do not think her parents had spoken to her and by the age of 16 she was drinking a bottle of wine every night. A year later she had cirrhosis of the liver.''
This is scarring of the liver which can eventually lead to the liver collapsing.
Today,at the age of 19, she is studying at college and does not touch alcohol.
Mrs Owens says: ``She just does not know why she did it and this case just proves that it is never too early to talk to children.
``Children of today see alcohol and at functions which they attend with family they are likely to be coming into contact with alcohol on a regular basis.''
Chris Parry,from Prenton in Wirral,has a four-year-old son, Luke,and a 16 year olddaughter, Harriet. …