May 22, 2006
Parents should enforce clear messages about alcohol
Many parents are driving their kids to drink. Some parents think by letting their kids drink with their pals at home fosters responsible drinking and will make alcohol less alluring. The data strongly contradicts this thought. Studies show that teens who get booze from their parents are twice as likely to drink and binge drink, because their parent appears to sanction alcohol use.
Many parents also believe that the Europeans' attitiude towards youthful drinking yields more reasonable consumption. But an international report in 2004 found that 15 and 16 year-olds from 34 European countries drank and participated in binge drinking more often than Americans the same age.
Parents afraid their children will resent the no tolerance rule are relunctant to lay down the law. But research shows that kids need clear rules and enforcement of consquences.
What's a parent to do???
1. Set clear family rules about teen drinking, such as never drink with friends and never ride in a car with a driver who has been drinking.
2. Remind them that underage drinking is illegal, unhealthy and life threatening.
3. Never host a party unless you are willing to supervise it closely. Don't be on the second floor if the party's on the first.
4. Call parents whose home is to be used for a party. Make sure that adults will monitor the kids and that alcohol won't be served.
5. Don't supply liquor for your child's socializing. Parents who do double the chance that their teenager will become a heavy drinker.
6. Monitor the alcohol supply in your home. Make it clear that you don't allow unchaperoned parties in your house.
7. Set a good example. If you use alcohol, use it moderately. Don't glamorize your past alcohol use.
8. Ask your child where he or she is going, who they will be with and what they will be doing. Have your child check in regularly. Get to know your child's friends and their parents.
9. Set a curfew and enforce it
10. Impose consquences if your teen breaks one of your rules. Youth who expected a verbal reprimand if caught drinking were 1.5 times less likely to drink, and youth who anticipated loss of privileges were two times less likely to drink or binge drink than those whose parents did not respond to their drinking.
11. Work on the overall relationship with your teenager. Studies show good parent-child communication, mutual respect and collaborative decision making lower incidences of teen drinking.
12. Don't kid yourself into thinking your child is not at risk.. ALL KIDS ARE AT RISK
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Posted by Pat Giuliani at May 22, 2006 4:38 PM