Approaches to Educating About Alcohol

How do we teach young people about alcohol?

How does our approach shape the behaviours of young people towards alcohol and other ‘risk behaviours’ and/ or lifestyle choices?

If we get the approach wrong due to societal pressures, can it actually lead to more of the behaviours we wanted to limit?

These are not easy questions, but ones that as educators and parents we have to grapple with to fulfil our roles responsibly. I’m a Brit and did my growing up in UK. Therefore, I have more than a little experience and have witnessed plenty of the outcomes of the rather unhealthy, unsavoury relationship between young people and alcohol there.

As a result, I found the attached article from the BBC, written by Kate Fox – a social anthropologist, fascinating.

BBC Article on Society messages on Alcohol

As the article says, “The effects of alcohol on behaviour are determined by cultural rules and norms, not by the chemical actions of ethanol.” The two places where those cultural rules and norms are both promulgated to the greatest extent are school and home. So, the questions we need to ask are how successful we are being and conveying the right messages to improve the chances of healthy, positive rules and norms. Unfortunately, I suspect that if Kate Fox is right then things are not happening right in India and we could, inadvertently be contributing to a situation with many parallels to the UK situation 15-20 years ago.

I would love to get the thoughts of others; parents and educators about how we might shape wholesome messages to young people that will contribute to minimizing the negative relationship between youth and alcohol.


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