In a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) survey of 230,000 teens, it was discovered that more teens started drinking and smoking tobacco and marijuana in June and July than any other month. More than 11,000 teens on average took a drink, 5,000 smoked a cigarette, and 4,500 smoked marijuana daily. Since alcohol is readily available in most homes, let’s start there.
Do something if you think your underage child is drinking! The earlier the situation is addressed, the better the situation will be. Here are tips from parentfurther.com.
• If you suspect that your child has a serious drinking problem, don’t hesitate to get professional support and help. Many physicians and addiction counselors can offer information on treatment options. (So does our online resource guide and samhsa.gov/treatment.)
• If your children try alcohol, address the issue directly and positively. Use it as an opportunity to help them learn from mistakes and make better decisions in the future.
• Many kids respect a direct, honest approach; if you think your child is drinking, it may be best to just ask them directly. Don’t be condemning or judgmental – just try to get the facts.
• If your child is drinking, it’s very likely that their friends are drinking as well. Talk to your child’s friends’ parents about ways you can ensure that parties and get-togethers remain alcohol-free, such as by having an adult supervise these events.
• Getting other adults involved can be a great help if your child begins drinking. By recruiting your relatives, your friends, your child’s friends’ parents, and other caring adults to your cause, you can ensure that your child is receiving positive messages about avoiding alcohol use on a regular basis.
Many teenagers experiment with alcohol, so if you find that your daughter or son has had a few drinks, don’t get too freaked out. It doesn’t mean that she or he is a bad kid – just that you’ll need to take some positive action. Talk to your child right away and work with her or him (and other parents) to prevent further underage alcohol use.
Suzy Jacobs, Executive Director,
3131 Foothill Blvd. Suite D
La Crescenta, CA 91214
(818) 646-7867 http://cv-alliance.org/