The holidays are a time to celebrate with friends and family. It is also a time when too many tweens and teens find themselves in difficult situations.
During this season they may be placed in settings and situations where the opportunity to consume alcohol presents itself. Many young people are making the decision to drink alcohol without understanding the potential implications it will have for their night and their future. This makes the holidays an excellent time for parents to talk to their kids about underage drinking and the dangers of partying with peers.
Parents have a significant influence on young people’s decisions about alcohol consumption, which is the foundation for SAMHSA’s “Talk! They Hear You” campaign. The “Talk! They Hear You” campaign emphasizes the importance of parents talking to their kids about underage drinking before they reach the age range when alcohol use typically begins (before the age of 15); offers advice to parents about preparing children to deal with peer pressure issues that may lead to alcohol abuse; focuses on helping parents address the issue of underage drinking in a manner that emphasizes their children’s ability to make autonomous decisions; and models behaviors and situations when parents can begin the conversation about the dangers of alcohol with their children.
The “Talk! They Hear You” campaign is being spread this holiday season – and beyond – throughout Warren County by the Warren Hills Community Coalition and the Coalition for Healthy and Safe Communities, both programs of the Family Guidance Center, in the form of radio, social media and print public service announcements (PSAs).
Many parents with children between the ages of 9 and 15 acknowledge that underage drinking is associated with numerous consequences, yet do not feel comfortable or prepared to address the topic with their child. To prevent underage drinking, parents must understand the seriousness of the problem and overcome the perceived barriers they face when talking with their children about underage drinking. The “Talk! They Hear You” campaign exists to help parents do just that, by providing them with the knowledge, tools, and confidence necessary to start the conversation about alcohol use with their children. When parents know the truth about underage alcohol use, it is possible to protect children from many of the dangers associated with underage drinking.
For more information on “how to start the conversation about underage drinking” go to the Campaign’s website www.underagedrinking.samhsa.gov. To learn more about the Coalition for Healthy and Safe Communities, or the Warren Hills Community Coalition, call 908-223-1985 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.