As the summer is coming to a close, many teens are starting to think about heading back to high school or college. Now is a great time for parents to talk to their teens about the dangers of drinking. Underage drinking is still a major problem, as the CDC says 11% of all alcohol consumed in the US is by people aged 12 to 20. And according to the U.S. Surgeon General, nearly 5,000 teens die each year as a result of underage drinking.
It’s important for parents to be open and honest with teens about the dangers and consequences of underage drinking, such as academic problems, increased risky behavior (i.e. driving under the influence) and alcoholism.
Here are a few tips on talking to your teen (or pre-teen):
- Talk about the myths of drinking. Ask them what they’ve heard and either confirm or debunk the rumors.
- Show them the facts about underage drinking and the very real dangers associated with it.
- Be prepared to discuss your own drinking habits (or lack thereof). Be prepared to talk about your underage drinking (if any).
- Map out a plan on how your teen can say no to alcohol. (For ideas, see this post)
- Talk about reasons not to drink, focusing on the positive rather than the negative (i.e. focus on their goals/aspirations and how alcohol can hinder them).
It’s never too early to talk to you teen about alcohol. By talking openly about the subject you’ll be able to provide your teen with the support and guidance necessary to make good choices.
More facts about underage drinking:
- 24% of eighth-graders say they’ve used alcohol in the last 30 days.
- More than 100,000 12-13 year-olds binge drink every month.
- Ninth-graders who drink are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide as those who don’t.
- Children who begin drinking before the age of 15 have a greater chance at becoming an alcoholic at some point in their lives.