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Nine-Year-Old Acts Drunk


My husband and I have custody of our four grandchildren, a 16-year-old girl with special needs, a 10-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome, a 9- year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl. We have had them in our custody for four years. Lately, our 9-year-old has been pretending to drink beer and acts drunk. He told me last week that he can't wait until he grows up so he can "drink beer and get drunk." His mother lost custody of the kids because of drinking and using drugs. I don't want to overreact, but I also don't want to ignore a potential problem.


At 9 years old, boys often mimic what they see or hear, even if that behavior is not present at home. They often dress in costume and look at themselves in the mirror to see if they look like a rock star, football player or even a drunk.  

Every once in a while, he will give you the opportunity to teach him something about the behaviors he is displaying, and this is one of them. Let him know that you are aware that he is just playing, but that you want to talk to him about what happens to adults who make the choice to abuse alcohol. 

Tell him that alcohol destroys brain cells, so adults who drink cannot think right. If a man drives while he is drunk, his reflexes won’t work well and he can hurt or kill himself or others. Drunkards can lose their license and won't be allowed to drive their car or motorcycle again. 

Remind him that if he or any of his friends are offered beer, they should turn down the offer. Ask him if he has any questions, because it is best to ask you rather than his friends since they might not have accurate information.

If you continue to see him act drunk, ask him to pretend to be someone or something else.

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