It's kind of a big deal
A student survey in Washington County, TN indicated that less than half of middle and high school students have talked to a parent about drugs or alcohol in the year prior to the survey. Research indicates that parents and other trusted adults are THE NUMBER ONE INFLUENCE in the choice to use drugs or alcohol.
Children whose parents talked to them "a lot" were 37 percent less likely to use drugs than children whose parents "never" brought up the subject, according to a survey by the National Parents Resource Institute for Drug Education.
From "Time To Talk" website:
Research shows that kids who learn a lot about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50% less likely to use. By talking to your kids about drugs and alcohol, you can help them make better choices and live safer, healthier lives.
A qualitative research study conducted by Amica Insurance confirmed that teenagers who talk with them, versus talk at them, may be less at risk to engage in harmful behavior involving alcohol. What's more, teens said they would be more apt not to drink and drive if they had heard directly from their parents how important they are to them.
Not sure what to say? At the very least say:
____________ (name) I care about you. I would like you to stay away from drugs, alcohol and negative influences. I want you to be happy, healthy and safe.
For older children...
____________ (name) I don't want you or any of your friends to be drunk, stoned, high or in trouble with the law. I care about your health and safety.
IT IS BETTER THAN SAYING NOTHING AT ALL
FEEL LIKE SAYING A LITTLE MORE?
Share these facts
By waiting until 21 to drink, a young person decreases chances of permanent damage to the brain and the risk of ongoing addiction.
Adolescents that drink perform as much as 10 % lower on tests involving concentration and memory. For girls, it affects
performance in areas of Math and Science. This damage is permanent. Brain scans show that the white matter in the brain is reduced in adolescents that drink regularly as little as one time per month.
Those who start drinking by age 15 and through adolescence are 5 times more likely to be addicted to alcohol or other drugs as an adult.
But I drank when I was underage, and I am okay. What is the big deal?
First, you may not be aware of the potential that was destroyed by your drinking in high school. The damage is compared to making a B instead of an A. However that difference might have been just enough of a difference. For your child it might be enough difference to affect a skill set needed to pursue an career or field of interest. Scans on students who reported binge drinking as little as one time a month showed permanent destruction of white matter in the brain.
As the community and professionals who protect it become more aware of the potential harm, they take steps to enforce and protect. Underage drinking at times only meant that the drinkers got their alcohol poured out and sent home or a parent called. Now it can mean legal charges, fines, community service and probation.
For parents or other adults, this means legal charges if your provide alcohol or allow someone underage access. A more recent "social host" law and Tennessee can result in charges for providing a space (your home, field, a hotel room) INCLUDING the loss of your driving privileges.
Teen Brain at Drugfree.org
Great series of videos and interactive web pages on a teen brain
The Parent Toolkit
Talking with Kids about Tough Issues
Besides TALKING with the young people you care about,another protective factors are keeping your child in school and INVOLVED with sports, or other activities that are supervised in a safe positive environment. Some are provided by coalition partners.
Rise UP! The Refuge
Boys and Girls Club Johnson City / Washington County
Carver Recreation Center
Coalition for Kids - The Rock
Depending upon your needs if you need some assistance talking to your child or if you are concerned about your child's alcohol and drug use we encourage you to seek assistance. Private counselors are available, and services are available through: