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Start talking about booze with kids by 9, pediatrician group says

Just like the sex talk, the conversation about alcohol use should take place with kids before they start engaging in it.

And the American Academy of Pediatrics says that means parents — as well as physicians — should start speaking up about alcohol and its dangers by age 9, according to a report by NBC News.

The Academy released new guidelines on Monday with that recommendation. It points out that advertising and marketing of alcohol are quite prevalent and by ages 9 to 13, kids are starting to have a positive opinion of it.

So they need to be armed with the other side as well. Don’t be one of those parents who says “not my child.” Or a physician who thinks that’s a conversation best had in the teen years. Also, let’s remember, that like the sex talk, this is one that doesn’t happen once, but is an ongoing conversation.

Let them know of the dangers of drinking too much, and how that can happen before they know it. Make sure they are aware how booze is linked with the leading causes of death and serious injury at their young age (car accidents, homicides and suicides), as the NBC News piece points out.

In the article. which appeared in Pediatrics, Miami pediatrician Dr. Lorena Siqueira and colleagues offer statistics on pre-teen drinking. Some 21 percent of young people admit they have had more than a sip of alcohol before turning 13 and 79 percent have had alcohol before their senior year of high school.

The earlier kids start drinking, the more likely they are to drink a lot, according to the NBC News story.

Don’t avoid the conversation because you think your kids are going to ignore what you say and are going to do it anyway. The Academy says 80 percent of young people describe their parents as the biggest influence on them when it comes to whether they will drink.

So with that in mind, let me add this: parents, cool it will all the “you & booze” talk and activitiy. You know what I mean: saying so often things like, “Oh, I have to have this glass of wine to relax after work,” or taking yet another selfie of yourself for social media with you raising yet another glass of booze. What impression do you think your kids, who are so influenced by you, are taking away from your behavior?

PHOTO CREDIT: TOBY TALBOT~AP