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If you are a Kinship Carer, these skills and resources may be useful.
Don’t assume that you’ve ‘had the talk’: three-quarters of parents of 11-16 year olds thought they had had a conversation about drugs with their child, but less than half as many (36%) 11-17 year olds said they remembered such a conversation.
We have split the advice into age groups.
7-10 years 9-12 years 11-14 years 13-17 years Kinship Care
Good Reasons Not to Drink. Stay away from scare tactics. Most young teens are aware that many people drink without problems, so it is important to discuss the consequences of alcohol without overstating the case. Some good reasons why teens should not drink:
You want your child to avoid alcohol. Clearly state your own expectations about your child’s drinking. Your values and attitudes count with your child, even though he or she may not always show it.
To maintain self-respect. Teens say the best way to persuade them to avoid alcohol is to appeal to their self-respect—let them know that they are too smart and have too much going for them to need the crutch of alcohol. Teens also are likely to pay attention to examples of how alcohol might lead to embarrassing situations or events—things that might damage their self-respect or alter important relationships.
Better exam results. Drinking once or twice a week has been associated with scores around 20 points lower at GCSE (equivalent to 3 grades, or the difference between an A and an D in one subject); and drinking on most days may mean 80 points lower scores (equivalent to 13 grades) (National Centre for Social Research 2010).
You have a family history of alcoholism. If one or more members of your family has suffered from alcoholism, your child may be somewhat more vulnerable to developing a drinking problem.
Alcohol affects young people differently to adults. Drinking while the brain is still maturing may lead to long-lasting intellectual effects and may even increase the likelihood of developing alcohol dependence later in life.
Cola drinks could damage young bones
Does your child love to drink cola? If so, and you’re about to do the weekly grocery shop you might want to consider that new research indicates a link between high consumption of soda with lower bone mass in kids.
Experts reckon the connection is down to several factors. First and foremost, kids who quench their thirst with cola may well not be drinking enough milk or calcium-fortified fruit juices. Add that to the fact that caffeine, which is present in cola drinks, is already linked to a higher risk of osteoporosis and you have a double whammy. Plus, along with caffeine, cola contains phosphoric acid, which can cause an imbalance in the body. Why? Your child’s body needs calcium to neutralize the acid and if there isn’t enough of it in her diet, her body will take it from her bones to restore the balance.
Low levels of calcium are associated with osteoporosis in later years – and it can thin the bones so much that they’re at risk of fracture. Research carried out at Tufts University and recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that cola consumption by women was associated with lower bone mineral density at three hip sites, regardless of age, menopause, total calcium and vitamin D intake. The women reported drinking an average of five carbonated drinks a week, four of which were colas.
Weaning your child off cola and on to calcium-rich drinks is the key to healthy bones in adulthood – ensuring she gets enough weight-bearing exercise will also help conserve her bone density.