As your child becomes more and more curious about alcohol, he or she may turn to you for answers and advice. Use this opportunity to start an open, honest conversation about drinking. Since some questions can be difficult to answer, it’s important to be prepared.
Q) I got invited to a party, can I go?
- A) Ask your child if an adult will be present at the party, or if he or she thinks children will be drinking. Remind your child that even just being at a party where underage people are drinking can get them in trouble. Use this time to establish or reinforce your rules about alcohol, and what behavior you expect.
Q) Why do you drink?
- A) Explain to your child your reasons for drinking – whether it’s to enhance a meal, share good times with friends, or celebrate a special occasion. Point out that if you choose to drink, it’s always in moderation. Tell your child that some people shouldn’t drink at all, including children who are underage.
Q) Did you drink when you were a child?
- A) If you drank as a teenager, experts recommend that you give an honest answer.1 Explain why you were tempted to try alcohol and why underage drinking is dangerous. You could even give your child an example of an embarrassing or painful moment that occurred because of your drinking.
It is important that parents initiate these conversations as often as possible. You may believe your child is not listening, however eventually you will realize – they are.
Drinking and driving kills. Drinking and driving can also result in life changing ways. As pictured above, Jacqui Saburio was changed forever by a drunk driver.
Jacqui had planned to help her father run his air conditioning factory in Caracas, Venezuela after she finished her industrial engineering studies at the university there. But first she wanted to learn to speak to English. She enrolled in a private language school in Austin, Texas. She had been in the United States for less than a month when her new friends coaxed her into going to a birthday party with them one Saturday night. Read her full story here.
According to the 2010 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey, 50.3% of middle and high school students have not used alcohol in their lifetime, 75.5% have not smoked cigarettes and 74.8% have not used marijuana. Click here for more information.
In Broward County there is a Task Force to Combat Underage Drinking.
Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens this summer.