Mom, is this the underage drinking talk again?” And Lucinda rolled her eyes and exhaled dramatically to emphasize to her mother how stupid she thought all of this was.
Despite how it may seem, children absolutely do listen to their parentwhen they talk about underage drinking. And not only do they listen, but teens actually identify you, their parents, as the number one influence on whether they drink alcohol or not.
Talk to them - it does make a difference. Start at an early age, and keep it up all the way through their teen years.
> Key points to mention and cover in your discussions:
- Start the conversation at an early age and continue talking as they grow up.
- Establish your values. Be clear and let them know that drinking under the age of 21 is illegal and you won’t accept it.
- Make sure they understand the negative consequences of drinking underage, including the ways it affects their growing bodies.
It can also lead to:
- Killing or injuring themselves
- Killing or injuring someone else
- Crashing a car
- Riding with someone who has been drinking
- Having unintentional sex
- Getting arrested
- Having an unplanned pregnancy
- Getting lower grades in school
- Getting in trouble at home
- Getting in a fight
- Help them to come up with ways to tell their peers “NO.” The more you help them, the more confident they’ll be.
- They know it’s important to live a healthy lifestyle. Explain to them that underage drinking is not part of that lifestyle.
- Teach your daughters about the ways that alcohol affects girls differently.
Give them the Facts:
- Underage drinking statistics
- Consequences of underage drinking
- Gender Differences in underage drinking
- How alcohol affects your body
- Underage alcohol consumption
- What Youth Say About Alcohol
Related Topics and Research:
- Ask, Listen, Learn – visit with your middle school-aged child
- Ask, Listen, Learn Parent’s Section
- Girl Talk: Choices and Consequences of Underage Drinking – for high school girls (and guys)
- Understanding Teen Drinking Cultures in America
Other Parent’s Corners:
- Drunk Driving Parent’s Corner
- Binge Drinking Parent’s Corner – for parents of older high school kids and those in college