Reducing the harm

There are specific things that families can do to reduce alcohol-related harms and encourage safer drinking behaviours at home. A good place to start is to know how much alcohol is considered a safe amount to drink to reduce the harm. Researchers who study alcohol and how it affects individuals and communities have come up with Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines.

The guidelines set weekly limits for drinking alcohol to reduce the harm:

  • No more than two drinks per week for men and women.
  • If you are going to drink, don’t have more than two drinks per day.
  • Have at least two non-drinking days per week to avoid the habit.

The guidelines also give recommendations on when it is safest not to drink alcohol at all, like when driving a vehicle or when pregnant. People who choose to drink alcohol can follow these guidelines to drink responsibly and reduce the potential harm.

Parents can play an important role in affecting children’s attitudes about alcohol. Children learn by observing how others behave around alcohol. Parents who drink alcohol in safe and responsible ways can have a positive influence on the choices their children make about alcohol use.

There are many ways to be a positive influence in the family:

  • If you choose to drink alcohol at home or in the community, drink safely and responsibly by following the low-risk drinking guidelines.
  • Change the story of alcohol in your home. Try not to tell stories that make drinking look like fun.
  • Share stories from those in your family or community who have chosen to drink safely or not to drink alcohol at all.
  • Plan more events and celebrations where alcohol is not involved.

If children see adults drinking in harmful ways, they are more likely to follow this example when and if they decide to drink in the future.