Rather than stopping your kids from going to summer events altogether, use this time as an opportunity to openly discuss the dangers of alcohol abuse. Children respect what their parents have to say when it comes to serious matters such as alcohol – more so than you may realize.
“Youth who start drinking before age 15 years are six times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life than those who begin drinking at or after age 21 years.”
2013 National Surgery on Drug Use and Health by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The Office of National Drug Control Policy created the acronym SUMMER to help parents start the conversation about the risks associated with alcohol abuse.
Set rules. Have a discussion with your kids about any expectations or guidelines you have relating to alcohol consumption.
Understand and communicate. Open communication is a two-way street. Give your kids the chance to talk to you and listen to any questions or concerns they may present.
Monitor activities. Life gets hectic between work, appointments and extracurricular activities. It’s important to remain attentive for signs that may indicate your child is abusing alcohol.
Make sure you stay involved. Show your kids that you’re concerned about their health and safety. In doing so, they’ll be more comfortable coming to you for advice.
Encourage involvement of summer activities. Help them make a list of summer programs they want to take part in. Staying busy during the summer months will keep them out of trouble.
Reserve time for family. Cut out time each day for your kids. Do something that interests them or take a trip to enjoy some rest and relaxation together.