Messages about drinking alcohol are everywhere we look. From music to TV ads and movies, the media that many of us consume is saturated with messages glorifying alcohol consumption and the “good times” that go along with it.
Research shows that for every hour that a teen listens to mainstream American music, they hear more than three references to different brands of alcohol. Furthermore, another study has found that approximately two thirds of prime-time fictional shows on TV, depicted 8 drinking acts per hour, on average.
Aside from shutting your child away from all mainstream media, what exactly can you as a parent do? Fortunately, there are more and more celebrities who are publicly vocalising their sober status that can be held up as role models for kids when it comes to alcohol. So yes, Mom’s and Dad’s it’s time to turn to celebrity examples to help lead your kids on the right path!
From Blake Lively, Kendrick Lamar and Kim Kardashian West to Pharrell Williams who has been quoted as saying "Everybody else can do what they want, but that stuff isn't for me" - there are a growing number of celebrities you won't see with a drink in their hand.
If you'd like to incorporate some advocates close to home in your big talk, you can refer to the stories of some of Aware.org's local underage drinking ambassadors:
“I remember taking walks at the age of 10 to buy my grandmother alcohol. She was a strong woman, the pillar of the family and I loved her,” he says.
“Her happy laughter still echoes in my mind, but I have also seen how alcohol negatively affected my father. At 18, after passing matric he made the choice to drink and had developed a circle of friends who made drinking acceptable, creating an enabling environment to drink but didn’t realise the harm that drinking would bring into his life. “I eventually had to make a complete change in my thinking when I got sober. “Some people might have a healthy relationship with alcohol, but I learnt that drinking becomes abusive when the negatives outweigh the positives,” he says.
My mother was a single parent (nurse) who would work overnight and so as kids, the three of us would look after ourselves. Because our mom would often entertain guests, there was always alcohol in a crystal decanter placed in the room divider (also known as a display unit).
My sister being three years older than I at the time would give me a sip of vodka saying, “I see all the adults doing it so we should do it”. I obviously couldn’t hold it because I was too young and as much as its still a story we talk about today, after this underage drinking campaign, the conversation we’re going to have about this will be to be a proactive one where we see the real need to talk to our children about alcohol and reinforce that underage drinking is not permissible.
Here are also four international celebs worth mentioning to help you and your kid navigate the talk about drinking alcohol:
No stranger to substance abuse, Demi Lovato has had a very public struggle with addiction issues in the past. Following six years of sobriety, she revealed that she had a relapse in 2018 through her track Sober. This pop sensation has since become a fighting force in the promotion of sober lifestyles, particularly among her young fans. “You can have just as much fun, if not more fun, when you’re not drinking,” Lovato has been quoted as saying.
One of the biggest stars in television currently, Zendaya has always been seen as a “good girl” in Hollywood. She has little to no controversy following her and is a natural choice when it comes to picking a good role model for your child. Although she played the part of recovering drug addict Rue in the hit series Euphoria, Zendaya prefers to live a more sober life in reality. When asked about whether she was excited to be turning 21 and being the legal age to consume alcohol, Zendaya was quoted as saying “why try something if you don’t need it?”. Solid advice indeed.
This hunky heartthrob rose to fame through his role as Troy Bolton in the Disney movie High School Musical and while he’s had an illustrious film career thus far, his personal life has been a lot less glamorous. He ditched alcohol following a stint in rehab in 2013, and he’s been the picture of health ever since. “You get out of life what you put in,” said Zac while speaking about his sobriety.
Over the years, Ben Affleck has been increasingly public about the place that drinking has had in his life. The Justice League star grew up with an alcoholic father "[My father] was an alcoholic... I did know that as a child... He, you know, drank all day, drank every day, and to his credit, he got sober ultimately," he revealed. "He's been sober for several decades, which I think is pretty impressive."
After his own struggles and journey to get and stay sober, he as a parent himself now says his message to his children about alcoholism is that “I want my kids to know there is no shame in getting help when you need it, and to be a source of strength for anyone out there who needs help but is afraid to take the first step.”
These celebs and more are sure to help you along the way in explaining the risks of underage drinking to your kids and will also give them a frame of reference when learning about responsible drinking.
For more information on underage drinking and other alcohol abuse issues visit: Aware.org.za
This post is sponsored by Aware.org produced by BrandStudio24 for Parent24.