|December 14, 2010, Marietta, GA – The holiday season offers an excellent opportunity for parents to communicate with their children about drinking says the Cobb Alcohol Taskforce.”Children who live in homes where alcohol is not the focus of holiday celebrations and get togethers may be less likely to grow up thinking that drinking is the key ingredient to having a good time,” says Cathy Finck, Taskforce Coordinator. “Parents should keep in mind that children are very observant and may be more influenced by adult behavior than what parents actually tell them about drinking.”
Recent research even suggests that holidays may be one environmental factor that can increase risk or confer protection from alcoholism within families. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, alcoholism may become more harmful to family functioning and more likely to be passed to the next generation if drinking interferes with such activities as dinner times, holidays, vacations and other family rituals. Conversely, researchers believe that maintenance of family rituals, even through years characterized by heavy drinking, may prevent alcoholism from being passed between generations.
And, what better time to consider federal guidelines regarding alcohol than the holiday season when drinking increases as dramatically as credit card balances in January. According to federal guidelines; no more than one drink a day for women, or two drinks for men, and no drinks for those under age 21, pregnant and/or alcoholics. They also reinforce the Surgeon General’s warning that individuals who may be driving should not drink at all. The federal guidelines regarding alcohol appear in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans published in 2000 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They define a drink as 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits; 5 ounces of table wine; or 12 ounces of beer.
Successful family holiday celebrations should offer plenty of alternatives to drinking so that adult guests will not be tempted to drink excessively and so that non-drinking guests will not feel left out. Non-alcoholic beverages, food and activities other than drinking will help to ensure a safer, more inclusive party.
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About the Cobb Alcohol Taskforce – Cobb Alcohol Taskforce is an alliance of individuals and organizations which mobilizes and challenges Cobb County adults to reduce underage and youth binge drinking, by advancing strategic enforcement, policy and education goals. To learn more, visit www.cobbat.org or call 404.791.7406.