Parents Empowered: Teen Drinking

January 23, 2009

Parents are the most powerful influence on their children’s behavior
Believe it or not, teens still listen to their parents. In fact, kids usually listen to their parents more than anybody else, including their friends. In a recent survey on underage drinking, teens reported that parental disapproval is the #1 reason they choose not to drink.

Kids need help to stay alcohol-free 
Education alone will not keep children from using alcohol when there are constant pressures and opportunities to drink. The areas of the brain that encourage impulsivity and risk-taking develop early in teens,while the areas that improve self-control don’t develop until the very late teens or early twenties. Parents must stay actively involved to help their children remain alcohol free.

Parents often underestimate the problem 
Binge drinking now begins as early as elementary school and parents are often unaware of their child’s use of alcohol. In fact, in a national survey, 31% of kids who said they had been drunk in the past year had parents who believed their children to be non-drinkers.

What can parents do? 
First, they can learn and explain how alcohol can damage their child’s brain and increase the risk of addiction. Then, they can apply the following three research-proven skills that prevent underage drinking: Bonding, Boundaries and Monitoring.