Teen alcohol use kills 6,000 young people each year, more than all other illegal drugs combined. However, research shows that three out of four teens say their parents are the number one influence on their decisions about alcohol. So it makes sense to provide parents with the tools to effectively harness their tremendous influence.
The most costly assumption parents make is my kids are good kids, and I can trust they’ll make the right decisions. Although, research shows that clear and ongoing communication about alcohol is critical in preventing underage drinking.
To help parents have the sometimes difficult, here are a few practical tips for communicating with teens about underage drinking:
Talk before a problem starts.
- Have the important discussions now, before there’s blame, anger or punishments.
- Agree on a time to talk about the dangers of alcohol ” preferably when they’re not tired, hungry or angry.
Discuss rules and consequences.
- Explain expectations and tell them you don’t want him/her drinking.
- Agree on consequences for broken rules.
Show you care.
- Show affection and tell them that you care about them and want them to be healthy and safe.
- Even when life gets hectic, take time out to listen to them.
- Know where they are and what they’re doing.
Give and get respect.
- Listen and respond respectfully when they talk.
- Insist that they treat you with respect too.
By Jan Withers, MADD National President
For additional information visit the Power of Parents
Below are two widgets that have been designed to provide information and awareness about underage drinking.
The Too Smart to Start widget is designed to provide up to date news on underage drinking prevention and was developed by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), with the intent is to:
Increase the number of conversations between parents and caregivers and their underage children about the harms of underage alcohol use.
Increase the percentage of underage youth and their parents and caregivers who see underage alcohol use as harmful.
Increase public disapproval of underage alcohol use.
The second widget has been designed to test your knowledge of underage alcohol use and its impact on youth and was developed by the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking. See how many questions you get correct. Compare your performance with the results of other quiz takers.