Think your kids are more likely to listen to their friends at a party than take your advice about drinking alcohol?
According to research from the Roper polling organization, 20 percent of youths ages 8 to 17 said that their friends are their No. 1 influence when it comes to making decisions about drinking, while 71 percent said that they looked to their parents first. That’s powerful motivation to talk to your kids about alcohol.
If you’re looking for a little support to get the conversation started, turn to the Family Talk About Drinking guide developed by an advisory panel of educators, family counselors, child psychologists and alcohol treatment professionals. The guide is funded by Anheuser-Busch. The free brochure includes sample conversations parents might have with their children in a variety of settings and with a parent who is hosting a party for teens at his or her house.
The brochure offers six guidelines for communicating with your kids about drinking:
• Be a good role model. The most important way parents communicate with their kids about drinking is through the example they set.
• Be factual. Give kids the facts about alcohol. Getting emotional or exaggerating may make you lose credibility with your kids.
• Set clear rules. Share your opinions and beliefs about drinking and then make sure you and your kids are on the same page about your rules for alcohol and the consequences if they’re broken.
• Practice good parenting. Help your children feel good about themselves, practice open communication, be active as a family and teach problem-solving and decision-making skills.
• Know your child’s friends.
• Get help if you need it. Seek professional help immediately if you think a sudden change in your child’s behavior may be related to drinking.
The brochure is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese. There is also a video available in English and Spanish. Call 1-800-359-8255 or visit Family Talk to have your materials sent to you.