Answering Tough Questions
As your child becomes curious about alcohol and other drugs, he or she may turn to you for answers and advice. Use this opportunity to start an open, honest conversation about drinking and drug use, and to establish or reinforce your rules about alcohol and drug use and outline the behavior you expect. Peer pressure can be powerful among youths, and having a plan to avoid underage drinking and drug use can help children make smart choices. Because some questions can be difficult to answer, it is important to be prepared. The following are some common questions and answers about underage drinking and other drugs.
"Why is alcohol bad for me?"
Don’t try to scare your child about drinking or tell him or her, “You can’t handle it.” Instead, tell your child that alcohol can be bad for his or her growing brain, interferes with judgment, and can make him or her sick. Underage drinking has severe consequences, including injury or death from accidents; unintended, unwanted, or unprotected sexual activity; academic problems; and drug use. Young people who drink are also more likely to have health issues such as depression and anxiety disorders. Once children hear the facts and your opinions about them, it is easier for you to make rules and enforce them.
"Did you drink when you were a kid?"
Don’t let your past stop you from talking to your child about underage drinking. If you drank as a teenager, be honest. Acknowledge that it was risky. Make sure to emphasize that we now know even more about the risks to children who drink underage. Consider telling your children relatable stories about making smart decisions when it comes to alcohol. These could be stories that show the consequences of engaging in risky behavior.
"You drink alcohol, so why can't I?"
Remind your child that underage drinking is against the law and for good reason. Point out that adults are fully developed mentally and physically, so they can handle drinking. Children’s minds and bodies, however, are still growing, so alcohol can have a greater effect on their judgment and health.
Clay County Data - Alcohol
My family has clear rules about alcohol and drug use.? Percentage of students responding "No"
Set Clear Rules About Alcohol
Tell your children what the law is, what your household rules are, and what behavior you expect. For example, “Alcohol is for adults. Do not drink alcohol until you are 21. Our family follows the law.”
Be sure your children understand that the rules are maintained at all times, and that the rules hold true even at other people’s houses. Follow your own rules.
Don’t change the rules in mid-stream or add new consequences without talking to your children. Avoid unrealistic threats.
Recognize Good Behavior
Always let your children know how pleased you are when they respect the rules of the household.
Put It Into Practice
Write out your most important family rules and post them clearly where they are seen often by everyone in the family. Then review the rules regularly with your family on your child’s birthday or at the beginning of the school year.