With New Year’s Eve approaching, psychologists are cautioning parents about underage drinking, which is become increasing common among city teenagers.
Psychologists are flooded with cases where parents complain of children drinking without their knowledge.
“We have parents complaining that children are filling alcohol in water bottles and taking it to schools,” said psychologist Dr Anjali Chabbria.
Easy availability of liquor and peer pressure is to be blamed for alcohol indulgence among children, said doctors. “You have to teach your child to say no. When parents drink, children lose their inhibitions and start drinking,” said Dr Sajid Ali Khan, who has treated several cases of alcohol abuse among children.
Khan recalled a case of 17-year-old girl whose parents offered her a beer at a New Year’s party when she was 11.
“The girl soon moved on to hard drinks and later even slipped into drugs. Not all children will end up like her, but parents should allow the child to drink only when he/she is legally eligible,” he said.
Parents tend to find out only when the child’s education is hampered. “These children come to us with behavioural changes and poor grades. It’s only when we start talking to them we find out that alcohol is the root cause,” said Dr Bharat Shah, psychiatrist, Lilavati Hospital, Bandra.