Parents Empowered: Teen Drinking

Kids need help to stay alcohol free. Parents who are actively involved in their kids’ lives and set clear rules and expectations on no alcohol use have a powerful influence on their children’s decision to remain alcohol free.

MADD President for Salt Lake County Art Brown talks about prevention skills for parents on Studio 5

Parents are the most powerful influence on their children’s behavior.

Believe it or not, teens still listen to their parents. In fact, kids usually listen to their parents more than anybody else, including their friends. In a recent survey on underage drinking, teens reported that parental disapproval is the #1 reason they choose not to drink.

Kids need help to stay alcohol-free

Education alone will not keep children from using alcohol when there are constant pressures and opportunities to drink. The areas of the brain that encourage impulsivity and risk-taking develop early in teens,while the areas that improve self-control don’t develop until the very late teens or early twenties. Parents must stay actively involved to help their children remain alcohol free.

Parents often underestimate the problem

Binge drinking now begins as early as elementary school and parents are often unaware of their child’s use of alcohol. In fact, in a national survey, 31% of kids who said they had been drunk in the past year had parents who believed their children to be non-drinkers.

What can parents do?

First, they can learn and explain how alcohol can damage their child’s brain and increase the risk of addiction. Then, they can apply the following three research-proven skills that prevent underage drinking: Bonding, Boundaries and Monitoring.

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