Magazine article Work & Family Life

What Parents Can Do about Teens Drinking

Magazine article Work & Family Life

What Parents Can Do about Teens Drinking

Article excerpt

Q have a 15-year-old and it eally bothers me that so many parents these days seem to be ignoring teenage drinking or just don't see it as a problem.

-A.L., Austin, TX

A Teen drinking is a serious problem indeed. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University has reported that: (a) more than 5 million high school students binge drink at least once a month, (b) girls are as likely to drink as boys, (c) a third of middle-school students obtain alcohol from their own homes and (d) teens cite "other people's homes" as the most common setting for drinking.

Here's what Stephen Wallace, chairman of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), says adults can do to discourage teen drinking:

* Monitor kids' emotional health and intervene at signs of trouble. Anxiety and depression correlate highly with alcohol use.

* Help teens achieve their goals. Point out ways in which alcohol can interfere with their success at school and in sports.

* Establish and consistently enforce consequences for bad behavior. Young people need and appreciate clear boundaries.

* Encourage relationships with good role models. A study of 6th-12th graders found that parents, close friends and other family members were "the most influential" in the students' decisions not to drink. …

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