Parents Hold The Key To Reducing Underage Drinking
North American Precis Syndicate
Moms and dads are the biggest influence when it comes to underage drinking, they hold the key to helping kids make good decisions and steer away from alcohol use. (NAPS)
(NAPSI)—Underage drinking is a significant concern and public health
challenge nationwide contributing to a wide range of costly health and social
problems. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and
Alcoholism, the economic burden of alcohol misuse in the U.S. is estimated at
$249 billion, with three-quarters of those costs coming from binge drinking.
Almost $24.3 billion (about 10 percent) of the total $249 billion economic
cost of excessive alcohol consumption is related to underage drinking, much
of it due to premature mortality of underage youth.
Annually, alcohol is a factor in the deaths of approximately 4,300 youths
in the United States, shortening their lives by an average of 60 years.
Last year, nearly 20 percent of people between the ages of 12 and 20
reported drinking alcohol. In fact, alcohol continues to be the most widely
used substance among America’s youth, and a higher proportion use
alcohol than use tobacco, marijuana, or other drugs according to Monitoring
While teens tend to drink less frequently than adults, 4.5 million young
people drink larger quantities or binge drink, having five or more drinks
males, and four or more drinks for females during a single occasion.
While underage drinking is a source of concern, parents can influence
whether their child decides to drink or not.
Moms and dads may want to start by knowing the risks and signs of underage
drinking. Teenage drinkers are more prone to have legal issues and
participate in unsafe sexual behaviors. They are more likely to have memory
problems and changes in brain development that cause life-long effects. There’s
also an increased risk for using other drugs, hurting themselves or someone
else and developing an Alcohol Use Disorder.
There are signs that parents should recognize as it might indicate their
child is drinking. If parents notice several of these signs or if they occur
suddenly and are extreme, it could mean there’s alcohol use involved,
and parents should intervene with their children and seek professional help
through the child’s school or contact the county health department.
These signs are mood changes like a quick temper, irritability and
defensiveness; school problems such as poor attendance, low grades and/or
recent disciplinary action; switching friends and a reluctance to introduce
the new friends; and finding alcohol in a child’s room or backpack or
smelling alcohol on their breath.
The good news is there are a number of things parents can proactively do
to help children stay alcohol-free.
• Show you disapprove of
More than 80% of young people ages 10-18 say their parents are the leading
influence on their decision to drink or not drink. So they really are
listening, and it’s important that you send a clear and strong message.
• Show you care about your
child’s happiness and well-being.
Young people are more likely to listen when they know you’re on
their side. Try to reinforce why you don’t want your child to drink—not
just because you say so, but because you want your child to be happy and
safe. The conversation will go a lot better if you’re working with, and
not against, your child.
• Show you’re a good
source of information about alcohol.
You want your child to be making informed decisions about drinking, with
reliable information about its dangers. You don’t want your child to be
learning about alcohol from friends, the internet, or the media—you
want to establish yourself as a trustworthy source of information.
• Show you’re paying
attention and you’ll notice if your child drinks.
You want to show you’re keeping an eye on your child, because young
people are more likely to drink if they think no one will notice. There are
many subtle ways to do this without prying.
• Build your child’s
skills and strategies for avoiding underage drinking.
Even if your child doesn’t want to drink, peer pressure is a
powerful thing. It could be tempting to drink just to avoid looking uncool. To prepare your child to resist peer pressure,
you’ll need to build skills and practice them.
Keep it low-key. Don’t worry, you don’t have to get everything across in
one talk. Many small talks are better.
There are free tools available to help parents have meaningful
conversations with their kids and learn more about how to reduce the chances
that children start drinking. “Talk. They Hear You.” is a
resource from SAMHSA that can help parents get started. Parents, caregivers
and educators can download materials by visiting https://www.samhsa.gov/underage-drinking.
“Talk. They Hear You.” also has accessible videos that
demonstrate the importance of discussing alcohol use with your children.
These videos serve as examples how a parent can approach their child about
alcohol use and can be found at http://bit.ly/2LuvT0F.
Moms and dads are the biggest influence when it comes to underage
drinking, they hold the key to helping kids make good decisions and steer
away from alcohol use.
hold the key to helping #kids make good decisions about #alcohol use. These
include letting kids know you care, disapprove of #underage #drinking and are
a good source of information. http://bit.ly/2KudROk”
On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)