For adults who have a role as parents/guardians, babysitters/nannies, teachers (or any school personnel), child counselor, mentors, coaches, etc., our children’s safety is at the top of our priority list. We want them to experience life and protect them from harm, but we know we can’t control every aspect, experience, and encounter of their life or even their own curiosity. However, we can do SOMETHING!
When it comes to preventing our youth from drinking, there are a number of things we can do. FIRST, is to be involved in your children’s lives (but not suffocating). It is possible to set limits while simultaneously encouraging their growth and independence. With this, have the conversation about alcohol and underage drinking (SAMHSA, 2020). Be open about your disapproval of underage drinking and be honest when answering any questions they may have! This can make it that much more easy and comfortable for them to be open and share their lives. Also, it has been shown that youth actually do take into account a trusted adult’s opinions when it comes to making the choice not to engage in negative behaviors like underage drinking. Secondly, become aware of potential risk factors that may be present in the child’s environment. These could be significant life changes and/or social transitions (e.g., such as graduating to middle or high school, etc.), a history of social and emotional problems (e.g., depression, anxiety, etc.), engagement with peers that may be a negative influence, or a family history of addiction or alcoholism (SAMHSA, 2020).
In addition to what we have listed here, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), has provided other tips and information that adults can utilize in effort to prevent youth from engaging in underage drinking. To access this list, click the link below.
Although, we can’t control everything in our children’s lives, what we can do goes a long way and has the potential to have an amazing and positive impact!
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). (2020, April 22). What You Can Do To Prevent Your Child From Drinking. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). https://www.samhsa.gov/underage-drinking/parent-resources/what-you-can-do-prevent-your-child-drinking