Believe it or not, teens still listen to their parents. In fact, kids usually listen to their parents more than anybody else, including their friends.
Utah data shows that when parents are clear about their strong disapproval of underage drinking, 97% of kids choose not to drink. (SHARP Survey, 2019)
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends speaking with your children as early as age 9. That’s because children develop their perceptions about alcohol between the ages of 9 and 13. While it might seem early, it helps your kids understand the potential harms. It also gives you the chance to make your expectations clear about not drinking underage, increasing the likelihood their brains will remain alcohol-free.
Your child’s brain continues to develop through adolescence. As a result, the harms from alcohol during these pivotal years can alter how the brain develops, affecting areas of the brain related to learning, memory and judgement. A healthy brain has far-reaching benefits helping contribute to a child’s overall success and satisfaction in life.
- 40% of kids who drink before age 15 will become alcohol dependent.
- 67% of kids who drink before the age of 15 will also go on to use illegal drugs.
- 44% of kids who drank in the last year did so with their parents’ permission.
Skills for preventing underage drinking are as easy as 1, 2, 3
1. Bonding, stay close to your kids.
Bonding is essential to preventing underage drinking. Children are less likely to drink when their parents are involved in their lives, and when children and parents feel close to each other.
2. Boundaries, set clear rules and expectations.
Children respond better when they have clear boundaries and expectations. Never assume your children know what your rules, expectations and attitudes are. Write down your rules and discuss them with your children so they understand the reasons behind them.
3. Monitoring, who, what and when.
Know where your kids are, who they are with, what they are doing and when they will be home. Stay involved. Studies show parental involvement drops significantly between the 6th and 12th grades. It’s important to remain engaged throughout their adolescent years.
This TIPS article was submitted by Parents Empowered.
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