It's time for prom and graduation/end of school parties, and that means that your daughter may get in a situation where she is around alcohol.
Although 10% of parents believe their teens drank alcohol in the past year, the truth is that 28% of 8th graders and 68% of high school seniors drink. What's a parent to do? SAMSA recommends to "Talk. They Hear You.", with the following goals in mind:
- Voice your Values. Over 80% of kids 10-18 say parents have the biggest impact on their decision on whether to drink, so decide upon your family values and communicate your expectations to her.
- Show you care. Keep calm and neutral while stressing the short-term consequences on your child's growing brain, social standing and academic performance.
- Show you are informed. Teach her about alcohol and how it effects her growing body. Read below for some good info to share with her.
- Help her resist peer pressure. Agree on a word or phrase she can use to have you pick her up, no questions asked. Come up with 5 excuses she can use to refuse a drink.
- Alcohol affects you, even if you don't feel it. How fast alcohol affects you is influenced by many things, including your weight, how much you've eaten, how fast you drink and even changes in your hormones that happen during the month. Even if you aren't slurring your words or stumbling, alcohol is causing changes in how you act and react.
- The only thing that will sober you up is time. Coffee, cold showers, exercise or other "cures" will not speed up how fast your body gets rid of the alcohol. Know this when your friends want to do shots or play drinking games. It's takes one hour for a 100 lb. girl to metabolize 1 oz. of alcohol.
- Have a plan. Remember that some of your friends may want to say no, too - support them. Ideas: Offer to be the designated driver. Carry the same drink around all night; pouring some down the bathroom sink. Have Uber or your parents ready to call for a ride.
Barb Steinberg, LMSW and Teen Life Coach