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Prevention Presents: Alcohol Awareness

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 dee-washington

Alcohol Awareness
Deirdre Washington, M.Ed., OCPS I
Manager, Prevention Education

Did you know parents can make a difference in teen alcohol use? Parents play an important role in giving kids a better understanding of the impact that alcohol can have on their lives.

As a parent, you are a primary source of positive and reliable information and it is important to take advantage of “teachable moments.” It’s not so much about “the big talk,” but about being there for them when the issues come up—on TV, at the movies, on the radio, about celebrities or sports figures, or about their friends. Don’t miss your opportunity to teach your kids. If you do, they will get their information from the media, the internet, or other sources that not only misrepresent the potential negative impact of alcohol and drugs, but may actually glorify their use.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, here are some basic guidelines to assist you:

  • Listen Before You Talk—Encourage Conversation. As parents we want to have “all the answers.” And, sometimes we are so anxious to share our wisdom – or our opinion – that we don’t take the time to listen. For kids, knowing that we are really listening is the most important thing we can do to help.
  • Talk to Your Child and Ask Open Ended Questions. Talk to your child regularly – about their feelings, their friends, their activities. As much as you can, and sometimes it’s not easy, try to avoid questions that have a simple “yes” or “no” answer and encourage conversation.
  • Be Involved. Get to know your child’s friends and continue to educate your child about the importance of maintaining good health – psychological, emotional and physical.
  • Set Expectations, Limits, and Consequences. Make it clear that you do not want your child drinking or using drugs and that you trust them not to. Talk about possible consequences, both legal and medical, and be clear about what you will do if the rules are broken.
  • Be Positive. Many parents have discovered that talking about these issues with their children has built bridges rather than walls between them and have proudly watched those children learn to make healthy, mature decisions on their own.
  • Family History. Both research and personal experience have clearly documented that addiction is a chronic, progressive disease that can be linked to family history and genetics. So, if you have a family history of problems with alcohol or drugs, be matter of fact about it, as you would any other chronic disease, such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer.

For more information or tools to help spread the word visit:

https://www.ncadd.org/get-involved

http://healthfinder.gov/nho/PDFs/AprilNHOtoolkit.pdf

https://www.drugfreeactionalliance.org/know

 

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  ashley-rodebaugh
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Ashley Rodebaugh, M.A., LSC
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