How to talk to your kids about drinking
Published Tuesday, March 6, 2018 5:43PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, March 6, 2018 7:01PM EST
Days after a sugary alcoholic beverage associated with the death of a 14-year-old Laval girl was pulled from the shelves, another brand announced its intentions to stay away from Quebec.
Four Loko, a malt liquor flavoured beverage, released a statement on Tuesday saying it will “suspend the commercialization of Four Loko at Quebec, until further notice.”
The beverage, which is popular with teens due to its high alcohol content, was pulled from the province in December due to controversy over how it’s brewed.
The move comes as Quebec social workers and parents debate how best to address teen drinking in the wake of Athena Gervais. Gervais was reported missing last week and her body was eventually found in a creek near her school. Friends said Gervais had been drinking ‘FCKD UP,’ an alcoholic beverage which contains 11.9 per cent alcohol.
“This is an age where they’re impulsive, they’re risk takers,” said social worker Angeliki Souranis.
Ten years ago, Souranis’ son Craig was drinking with friends at a lake. The group got into a friend’s car for the drive back to the cottage, but the driver lost control. Craig, who was 20-years-old, was ejected and killed instantly.
Today, Souranis speaks to students at high schools about the risks of drinking.
“One of the things that I hear over and over again is that this isn’t something that’s going to happen to them or one of their loved ones or one of their friends,” she said.
Souranis encouraged parents to talk to their kids about drinking and ensure they understand the risks, but not to talk down to them.
“We tell them to do this and don’t do that but I really think it needs to be an exchange,” she said. “If you call me if one of your friends or you are drunk and can’t make it home, I promise I will come and get you and I promise I won’t get mad at you in the moment, no questions asked.”
She added that another valuable lesson is that to be a good friend, sometimes you have to draw the line when someone has overconsumed.
“These situations can escalate very quickly and have serious consequences, as we’ve seen,” she said. “Being a good friend sometimes means you have to tell an adult or you have to get help for your friend, even if that means you might get into trouble.”