Myth: As long as I keep my children active, they won’t want to drink.
Youth who have an unusually strong desire for new experiences and sensations are more likely to use alcohol.
Myth: I’ve got plenty of time to talk to my kids about drinking alcohol…
The average age of Georgia youth when they start drinking is 13! Talk early AND often!
Myth: Drinking is just part of being a teenager; it’s no big deal!
Underage drinking damages the teenage brain. Adolescents who drink are more likely to engage in risky behavior, suffer academically and develop dependency issues later in life.
Myth: I can pick friends for my children to avoid negative influences.
It’s not practical or advisable for parents to choose their children’s friends. Trying to do so can even backfire, particularly during adolescence. Parents can encourage their children to talk about their friends, how their friends make them feel, and how their friends influence their behavior. Get to know your children’s friends and encourage closer relationships with the ones you believe to be positive influences. Accepting your children’s friends makes your children feel good about their social decisions.
Myth: I try not to interfere too much with my child. I know kids need to figure things out on their own, especially about drinking.
It is very important to help your child make good, healthy choices. First, when children have a strong bond with a parent, they are apt to feel good about themselves and less likely to give in to peer pressure. Second, a good relationship with you is likely to encourage your children to try to live up to your expectations, because they want to maintain that close relationship. Make it easy for your child to talk honestly with you.
Myth: It’s better to wait until my child is older before we start talking about drinking alcohol.
Ages 9-11 are ideal for talking to your child about drinking. According to “Family Talk: A Guide for Parents,” parents of teens generally agree that it is more difficult to start discussions during the teen years. A child is most receptive to discussion if he/she asks a question. Look for “learning moments” that may naturally become longer discussions.
Myth: Adults drink, so teens should be able to drink too.
A young person’s brain and body are still growing and will continue to do so into the 20’s. Drinking alcohol can cause learning problems or lead to adult alcoholism. People who begin drinking before age 15 are five times more likely to abuse or become dependent on alcohol than those who begin drinking alcohol after age 21.*
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), Results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health; Summary of National Findings. NSDUH Series H-41, HHS Publication Prevention, SAMSHA, 2011.