Pennsylvania – New studies show that kids are starting to drink earlier than you might have ever expected, so the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is urging parents to have an ongoing discussion about alcohol with their kids.

It’s part of their Know When, Know How campaign.

The study says that about 37 percent of children in the US have tried alcohol by age 8. By age 12, that number jumps up to 66 percent.

Many parents don’t think alcohol will be a problem until the teenage years, but studies are finding that it can start much sooner than that.

Instead of having one big conversation about the risks of alcohol when they get older, PLCB officials say it’s more effective to talk with kids early and often.

Click Here to see the Know When, Know How website and more advice.

Listen to the full interview with Elizabeth Brassell, spokesperson for the PA Liquor Control Board. She talks about the statistics and gives examples of how she and other real parents have used everyday life to start conversations with their kids.

Most research confirms that age 6 is a little young… most children are not interested in alcohol, do not know what it is, or have a negative opinion of it.

From 8 to 11, children usually know more about alcohol. They might see it on TV or movies. They could hear their friends or older kids talking about it. They might also see the effects of alcohol on adults at their home or at a friend’s house.

But also from 8 until 11, kids are more willing to listen to their parents. They care about your opinions. They also care about making you happy and not causing you to be disappointed. This is a good time to start a conversation with them.

It’s better to ask open-ended questions instead of a question where your child can answer yes or no. This encourages them to talk more.

Studies show that one “big talk” is not as effective as talking to your kids early and often. Use everyday moments as ways to starting the conversations and teaching them.

For example:

  • Commercials or advertisements – What is alcohol?
  • Alcohol in the news – Did drinking play a part in a crash? Was a student banned for drinking? Is alcohol being sold in stores where it previously wasn’t?
  • In the family – Why do some people drink at family reunions or parties? Who is allowed to drink?

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