Parents are often confused about their role in helping teens navigate decisions related to alcohol and drugs. For some, the right path is an adherence to strict rules for any type of substance use. For other parents, there’s a benefit in allowing alcohol to be consumed in moderation under a watchful parental eye. Experts say that the correct strategy may involve the best elements of each approach.
Recently, a late night TV show mocked the government’s decision to fund a video aimed toward teaching college students how to safely use a microwave. While preparing kids for college by teaching them about microwave oven safety may seem comical, there are other topics which caring parents should be addressing with kids gearing up for university. Alcohol is at or near the top of that list. And a new study shows that parent-teen discussions about alcohol actually make a measurable difference in how kids behave with alcohol once they get to school.
Sixteen-year-old Katie got an unexpected phone call from her boyfriend (they usually text). He wanted to break up, at least until the end of the school year, he told her, so he could “focus on sports.” As soon as Katie tearfully said goodbye, she already had a barrage of texts coming in. Her boyfriend, now ex, had already changed his status on Facebook from “in a relationship” to “single” with a few comments about fun times ahead in the single life and cyber high-fives from buddies. Katie didn’t have time to react before she was receiving Facebook messages, comments to her wall, and Twitter comments and direct messages asking about the break-up – one she had no idea was even coming. Everyone seemed to know about her boyfriend’s decision before she did – people online she didn’t even know – making her breakup all the more humiliating.
Underage drinking is certainly nothing new, but recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are cause for alarm. Of particular concern is the fact that the age of drinking onset is getting lower and lower while the amount of alcohol consumed seems to be getting higher and higher.
Unfortunately, your teen may not only be meeting and exchanging news with friends when he/she visits online social media sites. While there, they may also very likely be viewing trendy advertising for major alcohol brands. Worse yet, many of these brands are advertising the option to purchase alcohol over the Internet and underage teens are taking advantage of the opportunity.
Springtime is, among other things, prom time. It is a time when teenagers like to up and too frequently, view the evening as an opportunity to act in ways that they perceive as grown up.
Texas parents tell a MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, survey that their children aren’t interested in alcohol. Eighty-five percent of parents from Texas believe this of their children, according to a recent article.
While a lot has changed in the last two decades, alcohol consumption among our teenagers has not, according to Jan Withers, President of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). Alcohol still is the most dangerous thing our kids consume and kills more children than all illicit drugs combined, said MADD at a recent Washington D.C. press conference.
College students are often experiencing life with a new level of independence, and decisions about alcohol consumption are sometimes among the first opportunities to exercise their freedom. While some parents may consider college-age drinking a rite of passage, others want to partner with their kids to help them make good decisions.
A new study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has shown that parents who are present and engaged with their children play an important role in preventing their teens from binge drinking. Teens who smoke, stay out late with their friends, and have access to alcohol are at a greater risk of becoming binge drinkers in their late teens.