Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention(865) 457-3007

Frequently Asked Questions for Parents

My daughter only drinks beer, doesn’t drink every day and says she’s not alcoholic.  Is she right?

Alcoholism is not defined by what you drink, when you drink it, or even how much you drink.  Whether a person drinks every day or only on weekends, drinks shots of liquor or just drinks beer or wine, what matters most is what happens when they drink.  If her drinking is causing problems at home, at work, physically, financially, emotionally or legally, it is time to get help.

Is it important to talk to my kids about alcohol and drug use before they are even exposed to it?

In a recent survey, 1 in 3 fifth and sixth graders (ages 10-11) said that alcohol was available and easy to get. Approximately 10% of 9-10 year olds have started drinking and one in three begin drinking before age 13. By age 15, approximately 50% have had at least one drink, so it’s never too early to start the conversation. Parents play a key role in providing information about alcohol and drugs, and research shows that kids who learn a lot about the risks of alcohol and drugs from their parents are up to 50% less likely to use. Parents influence whether and when adolescents begin drinking as well as how their children drink. Family policies about adolescent drinking in the home and the way parents themselves drink are important.

My ex-husband was alcoholic, should I be concerned about my kids?

When there is addiction in the family, everyone is effected, and it is important to understand how each family member may be coping with unhealthy family behaviors. In addition, children of alcohol or drug addicted parents are in the highest risk group of all children to become alcohol and drug abusers themselves due to both genetic and family environment factors. So, it’s important to become educated on addiction and codependency, and to talk with children honestly about the dangers of alcohol and drugs and their own risk factors.

I think my 19 year son has a drug problem, but I think he’ll grow out of it.  Am I right?

Plain and simple, if you are concerned, now is the time to seek help, not later. It might help to attend meetings of Al-Anon or Nar-Anon (programs for family and friends of those who may have a problem with alcohol or drugs), and open meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous (programs for the person who may have a problem with alcohol or drugs). You can learn a great deal about your family situation from hearing the experiences of others who are dealing with similar family concerns. And you can learn a great deal about alcoholism and drug addiction from hearing alcoholics and addicts talking honestly about their slide into addiction and their recoveries.