A study came out this week showing that 7th graders who were exposed to alcohol ads – and liked them… were more likely to have problems with alcohol in high school.
Let’s be honest; When was the last time you talked about alcohol ads with your kids? I don’t mean in a “Wow, that was a cool ad they had on during the Super Bowl,” kind of way. I mean in a, “Wow, they really make drinking alcohol look cool, don’t they? But drinking alcohol can really get people into lots of trouble – let’s talk about it” kind of way.
The response of parents is often either “Not my kid,” or “I was wild when I was younger and I turned out OK, she’ll be fine.” My response to either one is this: What if you are wrong? Do you really want to take the chance?
Parents can make all the difference when it comes to preventing underage and dangerous drinking by their kids. Here are 5 things you can do:
#5 Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help – Parenthood is really hard work, and all of us need help sometimes. If you are worried that your child may be using alcohol in risky ways, you don’t need to handle it alone. There are people who can help, like your child’s doctor, or school guidance counselor. Here at Turning Winds Academic Institute, we have a great program to help with adolescent substance abuse; that helps teens and their families through substance abuse problems.
Strategies For Parents To Prevent Underage Drinking [Video]
#4 Be An Involved Parent – Not a helicopter one – that’s not good for anyone. But make sure you at least touch base every day. Go to the school open house and to teacher conferences and games and other events (volunteer to be a coach or chaperone). Support them in school and in other activities – the more successful they are in and out of school, the less likely they are to get into trouble with substance abuse.
#3 Talk With Your Children – Talk about the ads – there are lots of them – and why they are appealing, and what the truth is when it comes to alcohol. Talk about what they see in TV shows and movies. Talk when there is a car accident related to alcohol – there are lots of those too. Have an ongoing dialogue. Start by middle school. Not only is that when the exposure can really start, both in the media and socially, but in middle school, they still talk to you.
#2 Don’t Be Afraid to Say No – Sometimes, our fear of negative reaction from our friends, or others we don’t even know, keeps us from doing what we know is right. Real simple, it may seem like “everyone is doing it,” but they are not. Don’t let someone else make your decisions for you. If someone is pressuring you to do something that’s not right for you, you have the right to say no, the right not to give a reason why, and the right to just walk away.
#1 Be A Good Role Model – The second biggest risk factor for underage drinking? A family history of dysfunctional drinking. I’m not just talking about alcoholism here, although that can run in families. I’m also talking about the message you send when alcohol is a big part of your social life, especially if your social life involves getting drunk. Kids always pay more attention to what we do than to what we say. If you want your child to have good judgment about alcohol, show it yourself.
Parents of teens who are concerned after seeing drastic changes in their child’s personality, behavior, and/or academic performance can Take Our Test to determine your child’s need for placement. They may have seen their child exhibiting self-destructive behaviors, such as binge drinking, and wonder what the best course of action is for seeking immediate help. Our consultants here at Turning Winds Academic Institute are available and committed to helping parents of struggling teens.
Call Turning Winds Academic Institute at (800) 845-1380 today!