Not just the bottle shops are to blame

A NEW survey about underage drinking in Mandurah should be a wake-up call for many in the region.

According to the national researchers, parents sometimes have the fear that if they don’t allow alcohol use at home their children may rebel and use alcohol behind their backs.

But research shows that in families where parents set a rule that children are not to use alcohol, rebellion tends to be limited to the children having a few drinks behind their parents back and there are much lower rates of underage alcohol use. 

However, in the families where the parents allow moderate alcohol use their children are more likely to rebel with heavy and harmful alcohol use.

The researchers say an increasing number of parents are successfully preventing youth alcohol misuse by communicating clear rules not to buy or supply alcohol to underage youth. 

This may mean, for example, becoming stricter and not turning a blind eye when children wish to sip dad’s beer.

The evidence is clear; the earlier a young person starts using alcohol the more likely they are to experience injuries and harms, impaired brain development and alcohol problems later in their life.

It’s a concern that several Mandurah bottle shops haven’t been adequately checking age identification but that’s not the only place the blame lies.

Teenage drinking is an important issue that affects the whole community, so we need to do something about it - starting in the home.

Cartoon by Ron Seddon

Cartoon by Ron Seddon