Underage Drinking is a Serious Problem
Too many teens are drinking alcohol in East Texas. According to the Texas School Survey, more than 1 and 4 teens in East Texas reported having a drink within the past 30 days. Research tells us that one of the most effective ways to prevent your teens from drinking alcohol is for you to talk to them. Your kids really do hear you. Below are a few tips and conversation starters for you to use to talk to them about underage drinking.
- Start early. The chances that your child will use alcohol only increases the older they are. The sooner you talk to your children about alcohol, the greater chance you have of influencing their decision not to drink.
- Use “natural” opportunities, such as dinner time or while doing chores, to start open, honest conversations about drinking
- Be a positive adult role model.
- Be prepared. Your child may become curious about alcohol; he or she may turn to you for answers and advice.
- Draw the line. Set clear, realistic expectations for your child’s behavior. Establish appropriate consequences for breaking rules and consistently enforce them.
- Establish open communication. Make it easy for your teen to talk honestly with you.
- Ask open-ended questions. Encourage your teen to tell you how he or she thinks and feels about underage drinking. Avoid questions that have a simple “yes” or “no” answer.
You don’t have to cover everything in a single conversation. Keep it low-key. Many small conversations about underage drinking are better than one big one. Here are some conversation starters:
- “You know you can call me if your friends are drinking, right?”
- “Do y’all talk about alcohol in school?”
- “You know most kids don’t drink, right?”
Why it is important to talk to your kids
Teens who drink are more likely to: be victims of a serious crime, have issues with school work, enage in risky sexual behavior, and they are more likely to experience serious health issues such as anxiety and depression. Research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism tells us that teens who begin drinking before the age of 15 are 50% more likely to become alcohol dependent as adults than their peers who don’t drink.
For More Information
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