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5. Watch out for TV advertising. Long-term studies show that kids who see, hear and read more alcohol ads are more likely to drink and drink heavier than their peers. A study with third, sixth and ninth graders found those who alcohol ads desirable are also more likely to view drinking more positively. Use those frequently-aired beer and vodka commercials during those ballgames you’re watching together as opportunities to discuss your values, concerns, and rules about drinking and pill popping.
6. Dispel the “quick fix” myth. The increase use of prescription drugs as well as cold medications amongst teens is also a growing and serious problem. Those TV commercials can give kids a very wrong impression: “The quick fix to any problem is a pill.” Calvina Fay, executive director of the Drug Free America Foundation points out, “We’ve become a society that basically says, “If things aren’t perfect in your life, take a pill. This cause our young people to see drugs as an answer.” Instead, we must help our kids grow strong from the inside-out. Boost authentic self-esteem. Get her involved in healthy activities. Turn him on to positive peers. Keep a strong relationship.
7. Reduce stress and teach coping strategies. The 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) found that stress is the main reason teen girls are using drugs. Girls also related that they are using drugs as a way to cope with problems at home. (This confirms research from varying sources showing teen stress is mounting as well as teen depression). Keep a lid on the stress at home. Find ways to cope as a family (walking, exercising, eating healthier, sticking to a sleep routine). Teach coping strategies and stress reducers to your teen (yoga, deep breathing, stress management techniques).
8. Get on board with other parents. Forty-one percent of boys in the report responded: “parties are more fun with drugs” (an increase from 34% in 2008). More than half also reported that drugs help them relax in social settings. Know your kid’s friends and their parents. Call any parent hosting a party to ensure they are really supervising those sleepovers or parties.
A word to the wise: 99 percent of parents say they would not be willing to serve alcohol at their kid’s party, though 28 percent of teens say they have been at supervised parties where alcohol is available. Ninety-eight percent of parents say they are present at teen parties at their home, but 33 percent of teens say parents are rarely or never at teen parties. Though the teen party scene maybe several years away, get to know those parents now. They will be hosting those parties your child may be attending in just a few short years.
9. Watch the home scene. More kids take their first drink at your home or at the home of their friends. In fact, 60 percent of eighth graders say it is fairly or very easy to obtain alcohol-and the easiest place is in their own home. Count those bottles in your liquor cabinets. Lock up your liquor supply (and don’t tell your kids where the key is). Check your credit card: the hottest new place kids buy alcohol is on the Internet. Watch your medicine cabinet (abuse of prescription drugs, cold and cough syrup medication is on the rise). Stay alert!
Thank you to Michele Borba and her continued dedication to research and share valuable information for today’s parent. From toddler to teenagers, Dr. Borba is our country’s leading Parenting Expert.
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