Tag Archives: teen drinking

New findings on what may lead kids to binge drinking

A recent study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that that the more exposure teens had to alcohol use in movies, the more likely they were to binge drink.

The age, affluence and rebelliousness of the teens did not seem to matter. And this pattern was observed across cultures in countries with different norms regarding teen and adult alcohol use and drinking culture.

What can parents do to make sure kids don’t pick up the cues from the many movies out these days that show alcohol use? And what are some ways that parents can prevent a child from binge drinking?

Dr. Dale Guthrie, a pediatrician in practice at Gilbert Pediatrics, says communication is the key.

Guthrie, who serves as vice president of the Arizona Chapter of the AAP, encourages parents to stay involved — and to make sure to meet and know their children’s friends, from the early days of pre-school right on through high school.

More tips from Dr. Guthrie on how to help prevent your child from using alcohol and other drugs:

  • Know where your teen is at all times.  Teens may act as if they don’t like it but teens are actually more secure knowing their parents care enough to know where they are and what they’re doing.
  • Consciously and genuinely praise your teen for something good he does every day.
  •  Make sure she knows she can talk to you about anything, at any time, if it is important to her and that she won’t be interrupted judgmentally with a lecture.
  •  Remember you are his parent, (not his best friend, afraid to step on his toes) and offer advice when requested and at opportune teaching moments in short phrases, not long lectures which are tuned out anyway.
  •  Better yet, ask inspired questions of your teen—the kind which help her arrive at the correct solution.
  •  Attend movies with your teen and then ask open-ended questions about what he thought about it.
  •  At a nonthreatening time, (not right as your teen is headed out to a movie), sit down as a family and discuss what are your family goals and standards.  As part of that, set family standards for what types of movies you will view and which are beneath your family standards.
  •  When your teen returns from being out with friends, it is helpful to have a “check-in” with parents.  If the tradition has been set that he will give parents a hug (or even a kiss) no matter what time he returns, parents will know more about what he’s been doing  just by being close to him, listening and observation.

Parents of younger children might not be thinking about the teenage years, but is there anything they can do to lower the risk that their child will abuse alcohol down the road?

Will your six-year-old become a teen drinker?

One very simple way is for parents to make sure they truly listen to their child right from the start.

Guthrie says that children need to feel that what they say is of prime importance to their parents. “Then when she has something really serious to discuss, he adds, “she will feel comfortable coming to you.”

Modeling healthy behaviors themselves, and engaging kids in conversation at opportune moments (short snippets in lieu of lengthy lectures) are other ways parents can make a difference, says Guthrie.

RAK Archives: Talking to teens about alcohol poisoning

More on talking to kids about drugs and alcohol, and upcoming Parent Workshops from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, Arizona Affiliate


Will your 6-year-old be a teen drinker?

The drinking age is 21 in the United States. That’s the law.

But everyone knows that many high school kids drink beer, cheap wine, hard liquor — anything they can get their hands on. Right?

They sneak it from their parents’ stash, pay someone to buy it for them, snag a fake I.D. from an enterprising classmate. Lots of ways.

Of course, not all high school or middle school kids drink. But according to Students Against Destructive Decisions, or SADD, 41%  have consumed more than a few sips of alcohol by eighth grade.

Often, parents are the first in line to help them get started.

Some parents turn a blind eye, considering teen drinking to be a rite of passage. “We all did it when we were in high school,” is what they say. “We turned out okay. It’s just what kids do!”

Some parents hold parties for kids, provide the alcohol, take the car keys. “We’re just providing a safe place for them!” they say.

I’ve heard a few parents say this more than a few times. Number of years I’ve been a parent of a high schooler? Fifteen.

Often, they were the same parents who doted on their kids in preschool, checked their homework in elementary school, and drove them all over town to sports practice in middle school. You’d never think they’d be the ones.

Sometimes, you can spot them. They’re the “pleaser” parents. The ones who can’t say no. Kids learn early on if their parents will give them…whatever they want.

Sometimes they are the parents who just want to be “friends” with their kids. And their kids’ friends. And sometimes…they are parents who are experts in keeping secrets.

What I hope will change, ultimately, is awareness of the consequences to the adolescent brain. . Most parents want to protect and nurture their child’s brain. Isn’t that why we insist on car seats, seat belts and bike helmets? And why we read to them, take them to music and art lessons and SAT prep classes?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, alcohol use by youth continues to be a major problem in the United States. Use of alcohol early in life is associated with future alcohol-related problems in life.

A new study also reports an increased incidence of benign breast disease among young women who regularly drink alcohol in their teens.

How do you know if your 6-year-old will be a teen drinker?

The AAP says that kids are more likely to drink if:

  • They have friends who use alcohol, tobacco, or other substances
  • They live in communities where alcohol and other drugs are cheap and easily attainable
  • They are exposed to alcohol advertising.

Here are some tips from the National Institutes of Health on how parents can delay alcohol use by their kids:

  • Improvement of parent-child relations using positive reinforcement, listening and communication skills and problem-solving
  • Provision of consistent discipline and rulemaking
  • Monitoring of children’s activities during adolescence
  • Strengthening of family bonding
  • Development of skills
  • Involvement of child and parents

If you need some tips on how to talk to your child about drinking, check out Time to Talk, sponsored by The Partnership for a Drug Free America.

Here’s my tip: if you’re a parent, talk to other parents and find out how they feel about kids and drinking.

It’s never too early to start the conversation.