You are not alone: Resources for preventing underage drinking
Did you know that, on average, youth are starting to drink alcohol at age 13? That is a lot younger than most parents realize, which leads to underage drinking prevention efforts starting too late.
It is never too soon to start talking to your children about underage drinking. You don’t need to sit down for a serious talk at age 7 or 8, but you can make comments about how alcohol is for adults and model responsible drinking.
We understand that underage drinking prevention sounds like a scary, long-term process (and it can be), but you are not alone. We have collected a wide selection of resources to help you keep your children healthy!
Know you have power and how you want you use it
Before you start talking, you need see past the myth that kids don’t listen to their parents. The truth is that parents are one of the top influences on whether or not youth choose to drink alcohol. For that reason, you need have a plan about how you want to prevent underage drinking; you don’t want your children getting mixed signals. Here are a few resources to help you prepare:
- MADD “Power of Parents” handbooks and online workshop
- SAMHSA “5 conversation goals” worksheet
- SAMHSA “Action Plan” guide
Know the facts
No child is going to accept “because I said so” as a reason not to drink; young kids will play the game where they keep asking “why?” and teens will just ignore you. Before you start talking your children, read up on why underage drinking is dangerous and why waiting until 21 is so important.
- The teenage brain on alcohol [infographic]
- Underage drinking: Myth versus reality
- Are teens more prone to addiction?
- Adolescent Brain Development: Know the facts
Establish a healthy relationship
If you want your child to listen to you, they need to respect you. Respect is established through spending time with your children, showing them respect and truly listening to what they have to say.
- Spend time with your teens to curb their interest in substances
- Establishing respect with your child
- Are you listening to your teen?
Getting the conversation started
Finally, it is time for underage drinking conversations. Note it is not one conversation; it is many conversations over many years. You need to bring it up, set aside family time where you are always available to talk and take notice when your kids act like they need to talk.
- Starting the conversation: How to talk about alcohol
- 5 tips for talking to your teen about underage drinking
- Talking about underage drinking: The tough questions
Give your teens resources
Don’t just tell your teen not to drink alcohol; give them the resources they need to understand why drinking is bad for them, how to say no and ideas for other things they can do with their time.
- 5 more underage drinking facts [infographic]
- 5 prevention tips for Alcohol Awareness Month – for youth!
- 8 ways to say “no” to underage drinking [infographic]
- Bored? 50 fun sober activities
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