You are the most powerful influence in your child’s life. Even though it often doesn’t feel like it, your teens are listening to and learning from you.
FACT: An average of 36% of Randolph County students from 8th-12th grade report that their "parents or guardians have not talked to them about not using alcohol.”
Have you talked to your teen about underage alcohol use? Now is the time. Our children won’t know what our expectations about alcohol use if we don’t tell them. Speak up. Talk to your teens and help them make healthy choices for a strong future.
One of the most important jobs we have as parents is setting clear rules and expectations for our kids. This is especially important when it comes to preventing underage drinking. Without knowing the rules and consequences for underage drinking, children are much more likely to drink.
FACT: An average of 21% of Randolph County students from 8th-12th grade report that their family does not have “clear rules about alcohol and drug use.”
Being clear about your beliefs on underage alcohol use is crucial to making a difference in your child’s life and having conversations is a great way to start.
If you as an adult decide to drink, make sure you keep it locked up and away from your child and their friends. If your child sees you using alcohol, be sure to drink responsibly and talk to them about the importance of not drinking while underage.
Often, parents are confident that the important conversations they’ve had with their child about alcohol use were successful. But can you be sure that your teen actually learned what you want them to know?
FACT: An average of 18% of Randolph County 8th-12th grade students “believe that their parents think it’s acceptable for them to use alcohol regularly, which is 9% more than other Illinois teens.”
If you aren’t sure that your child understands the dangers of underage drinking, talk to them again. Having an open dialogue and letting them know that you’re listening is an excellent way to strengthen your relationship and ensure they’ll feel comfortable coming to you in any situation.
- Pay attention.
These days, underage drinking can start as early as elementary school. In fact, an average of 10.5% of Randolph County 10th-12th graders had their first experience with alcohol at age 10 or younger. If your child has begun acting withdrawn or distant, spend time making sure they know you’re there for them.
- Know your teen’s friends.
We are fortunate to live in a small community and to know the families of many of the kids in our children’s school. Talk to other parents about your rules and share a commitment to preventing underage drinking and keeping teens safe.
If you know that your child’s friend is drinking, let their parents know. The risks for both their child and yours are too high to not speak up.
As teens gain more independence, it is important to make an extra effort to know where they are, who they are with and what they will be doing. Helping them make safe choices today gives them a better chance to be strong adults tomorrow.
Teens need your help to stay away from alcohol.
With peer pressure, school-related stress, and personal changes in their lives, teens have a lot on their minds. When your child knows that you’re there for them, they’ll be more likely to come to you for help rather than turning to alcohol. Being involved in your teen’s life makes all the difference in the world.