First with Kids: Alcohol Prevention - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

April 5, 2004

First with Kids: Alcohol Prevention

Alcohol Prevention

Parents have been asking me what they can do or say to their teenagers to prevent them from drinking alcohol. Well let me try to quench everyone’s thirst for answers to this problem by providing a few tips:

  • First of all, know who your child’s friends are. Better yet, get to know the parents of your child's friends, so you can all work together to ensure that risk-taking behaviors like alcohol use are not encouraged.
  • Help your teen come up with successful ways to refuse alcohol such as saying, "No thanks, I’m in training," or “My parents would ground me for life.”
  • Know where your children are going to be and when they are coming home, and institute a curfew for their evenings out. Make sure your teenagers have a cell phone (or payphone money) to call you, should their plans change. Tell them you are doing this not because you are nosy but because you honestly care about them and their safety.
  • Insist that your teen never get in a car driven by someone who has been drinking. Promise them you will provide them with a guilt-free "no questions asked" ride home if they find themselves in that situation.
  • Since you're the adult, set a good example. Provide non-alcoholic beverages at any adult parties you host. Try to limit (or eliminate) drinking alcohol in front of your child. Never ask your child to "bring you a beer from the fridge" or prepare alcoholic beverages for adults. Show them there are other methods to relax besides an alcoholic drink, such as exercising or spending quiet time with a good book.
  • Finally, try to watch your child's favorite television shows or movies with them, and point out the negative effects of any alcohol that you may see, even if it is portrayed as having humorous aspects or being desirable.

Hopefully tips like this will sober everyone up when it comes to recognizing the important role parents can play in helping to discourage their teens from using alcohol. This is pediatrician Dr. Lewis First from Vermont Children's Hospital, reminding you to always be first with your kids.

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