It’s not just about drinking and driving, either… 2/3 of alcohol-related teenage deaths are NOT from drinking & driving Suicide Homicide Accidental Injury (burns, falls, drowning) Alcohol Poisoning
Other Risks Related to Teen Drinking Academic failure and dropping out of school Risky sexual behavior and unintended pregnancies Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as genital herpes and AIDS Sexual assault, physical assault, robbery, burglary, vandalism and other crimes Depression
One emerging risk is what alcohol can do to a developing brain Here are some important findings: Damage from alcohol use in teens can be long-term and irreversible Even minor alcohol use decreases verbal ability in teens by as much as 10%
More important findings: Adolescents’ learning and memory centers of the brain are twice as vulnerable to alcohol as adults Alcohol effects memory, verbal skills & vocabulary, which can impact performance in school and lower scores on aptitude tests
Tip #1 Limit Access Good! If you have alcohol in your home: Keep track of the quantity Know where it is Make it less accessible to teens
Tip #1 Limit Access Better! Thank servers and clerks for ‘carding’ those who are buying alcohol
Tip #1 Limit Access Best! Alert the police if you have information about where teens are buying/getting alcohol
Tip #2 Network Good! Get to know your teen’s friends
Tip #2 Network Better! Get to know the parents of your teen’s friends Know their rules, and share your rules Don’t accept the argument: “everybody else gets to…”
Tip #2 Network Best! Let the parents of your teen’s friends know where you stand on underage drinking No furnishing, EVER!
Tip #3 Reinforce and Enforce Good! Reinforce the rules and consequences of underage drinking before your teen goes out
Tip #3 Reinforce and Enforce Better! Frequently explain the reasons behind your rules Reinforce that the rules are protective, not just restrictive
Tip #3 Reinforce and Enforce Best! Consistently enforce the rules – even when it’s hard Don’t look the other way if your teen violates the rules Let them know that you will hold them accountable
Tip #4 Check In Often – Good! Before your teen goes to a party or out with friends ask: Will adults be present the entire time? Will alcohol be present?
Tip #4 Check In Often Better! Ask your teen to call you from the party or gathering If you have caller ID you can ask them to call from a landline, not from a cell phone, so that you can tell exactly where they are
Tip #4 Check In Often Best! Trust but Verify! Check in often with other parents about your teen’s activities Consider ‘dropping in’ at the location your teen tells you they will be
Tip #5 Be Up & Be Ready Good! Wait up (or set the alarm for curfew time) Talk with your teen about their night
Tip #5 Be Up & Be Ready Better! When your teen arrives home, look for signs of use. Teens who believe their parents will catch them are less likely to drink
Tip #5 Be Up & Be Ready Best! Be prepared in advance for what you would do the first time you discover your teen has been drinking Think about how you would react, whom you would talk to and how you will enforce the consequences.
Remember… Start early, don’t wait for signs that your child may be drinking to start monitoring Begin good monitoring skills when your child is young, it will help your monitoring seem less like an “absence of trust” and more like an expected routine as they get older.
Remember… You don’t need to go it alone – talk with other parents. The more we work together to give our teens clear and consistent messages, the better! Go to www.maineparents.net for additional help and resources.