It chills me to the very core to think about what goes on in high school.
Several months ago, I received an e-mail about a drug sweep at a local high school. The e-mail from the school administration was chilling to me…K9 dogs had found drugs, cigarettes; and when the lockers were opened knives were found. I was shocked.
According to my friends with high schoolers, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and even sex are all too common behaviors once kids get to high school. Note: I do not want to even know if this is happening in middle school. La La La I Can’t Hear You!
April was alcohol awareness month. I heard about a government organization called Underage Drinking, which is helping parents talk to their kids about alcohol. Underage Drinking wants to encourage parents to talk to their children early and often about the dangers of alcohol. I started a dialogue with my oldest around about 12.
Alcohol is the most widely used substance of abuse among America’s youth. Research shows that
- children who first use alcohol before age 15 are six times more likely to have alcohol problems than those who start drinking after 21.
- 40% of kids have tried alcohol by the time they reach eighth grade.
Starting a conversation about underage drinking with your children can be difficult. Underage Drinking provides tips as well as an action plan which parents can personalize to help get the discussion started.
On our family, we have talked about what our kids should do if presented with alcohol. We told our kids that we will come and pick them up if they feel uncomfortable at a party.
Moms and dads of teens, how are you tackling the issue of underage drinking? What tips could you pass on to other moms and dads? Have you made your own Action Plan at Underage Drinking?
Sometimes understanding the new brain research – especially that related to brain development, ages 12 – 20, often through age 25, and what that means with regards to adolescent substance abuse can help parents better appreciate the importance of talking early and often with their children.
This link takes you to an article, How Teens Can Become Alcoholics Before Age 21, which shows scans of brain development, as well as discussion of this concept.