1. Government advice is to delay drinking

The best option is to delay drinking among young people for as long as possible.

New Zealand low-risk drinking guidelines recommend that young people delay alcohol consumption for as long as possible, particularly those under the age of 15 years. It is further recommended that if drinking has initiated, it should occur under guidance, and at low levels and frequency.

There is a bit of confusion out there about whether parents should provide alcohol to their young people and if so, when.

Providing just a little sip to children in order to “teach them how to drink” isn’t advised. The earlier a young person starts drinking the more likely they are to experience alcohol-related harm. It may also have the effect of normalising alcohol consumption. It’s important that young people learn that there are valid options and choices for them not to drink, rather than feeling like they have to drink in order to fit in or be “normal”.