By guest writer Jennifer Newton
As the dust settles on the back-to-school rush, it’s a great time to talk to your kids about not using drugs or alcohol. You might be like many of the parents who want to talk to their kids about these important topics but just aren’t sure what to say.
At Bay Area Council On Drugs And Alcohol, which is also known as BACODA, we hear from many such parents and we want you to know that there are resources out there to help you.
The federal substance abuse and mental health services administration, known as SAMHSA, has created a campaign to guide parents on how to conduct conversations on these sensitive subjects.
The program is called Talk; They Hear You. It has a website and even a mobile app that’s available on Apple, Google and Windows devices.
Here are the top five tips from the campaign for talking with your kids about alcohol:
1. Show them that you disapprove of underage drinking. More than 80 per cent of young people between the ages 10 and 18 say their parents are the leading influence on their decision whether or not to drink.
2. Show you care about your children’s happiness and wellbeing. Try to reinforce why you don’t want them to drink – not just because you say so but because you want them to be happy and safe.
3. Show you’re a good source of information on alcohol. You don’t want your children to learn about alcohol from friends, the internet or the media. Establish yourself as a trustworthy source of information.
4. Show you’re paying attention and you’ll notice if your children start drinking.
5. Build your children’s skills and strategies for avoiding underage drinking. To help your children resist peer pressure, help them build skills and practice them.
These tips are important for all parents. Take advantage of the resources that are available to assist you in helping keep your children safe.
Keep the lines of communication open with your children and help them make healthy choices. And do check out Talk; They Hear You online.
For more information on how you can help prevent underage drinking in your community, visit www.bacoda.org or contact email@example.com.
Jennifer Newton is director of communications for BACODA.