Alcohol is the most misused drug in our society, although most people do not even consider alcohol to be a drug. It takes only a single episode of intoxication to experience life-changing consequences, accidents, arrests, etc.
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Talking about alcohol takes courage, but sharing our stories connects us, and makes us stronger.
April is Alcohol Awareness Monthand though it may be winding to a close, the problem of underage drinking carries on. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism notes that by the age of 15, over one-third of teens have had at least one alcoholic drink, a that roughly doubles by age Binge-drinking is also a big risk among this age group, a behavior that can lead to injury, memory and learning problems and chronic conditions like heart disease.
How can you tackle this tough but necessary topic of underage drinking with your kids? We talked to substance abuse and mental heath experts who are also parents to learn the best tactics and techniques. You may want to opt for a more casual talk that is more of an ongoing dialogue throughout their childhood and adolescence. How do you think that happened?
Why do you think that person got involved with doing that? If you wait to have these tough talks until their teenagers you may have missed the [window] and they may have formulated their own ideas about having a drink. Kids are curious and they will ask questions.
My eight-year-old daughter just asked me the other day what I was drinking. It was a beer. She asked why she was not allowed to have it and I explained that it is a drug that is not legal for people under the age of Rice and the other mental health experts we consulted note that transparency about your own drinking habits is key.
I hear a lot of kids talking about this — sneaking into the liquor cabinet. So be intentional in talking about any substances you use and make it casual.
Rice teaches a monthly class for foster and adoptive parents to help them care for traumatized. Here, she implements a technique that can be helpful for any parent.
Essentially, Rice explains, the parents role play with one another, rehearsing how they might handle all kinds of scenarios involving with their. You should also role-play with your teens in advance of their being exposed to situations where underage drinking happens.
Really push them on it and get into the role. Role-playing puts them in a situation where they have to free-think a response, which forces them to really be aware of what is happening in the conversation. Rice also recommends sharing your own recollections about underage drinking, whether you partook or had friends that did.
Topics you should be sure to address
Hopefully your kids won't have an issue with substance abuse, but as Dr. Conlin is quick to point out, "you can do everything right and they can still be wired to have a problem. Want more tips like these?
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