Talbot Partnership for Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse Prevention advises that with students out of school and parents at work, the summer months provide a prime opportunity for teens to be unmonitored and experiment with alcohol. Gary Pearce, Executive Director of Talbot Partnership advised that Talbot County has a long history of underage alcohol abuse and parents need to be particularly diligent during these summer months. The tips below can assist parents to set the community-wide tone that underage drinking is unsafe, unhealthy, and unacceptable.
• Set Summertime Rules: Make clear your rules regarding unsupervised time spent with friends, as well as your expectations surrounding drinking, smoking and other risky behaviors.
• Supervise: This can be challenging for parents of high school students; however, be physically present when you can. And when you can’t, try asking a neighbor to randomly check in.
• Monitor: Know with whom and where your child is at all times. Randomly call and text your teen to check in, and don’t be afraid to check up on your child by calling another parent.
• Engage: Provide some structure to your teen’s summer by helping him/her find a summer job or engaging him/her in a supervised activity (sports, camps, classes, etc.).
• Team Up: Get to know the parents of your teen’s friends. Speak with them to ensure you have a unified and consistent no-use stance.
• Stay Involved: Show your teen you care by taking time out of your busy schedule to do something fun and interactive together this summer (head to the movies, volunteer together, take a bike ride, etc.).
• Communicate: Regardless of season, it is always a good time to talk to your teen about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Open (or maintain) the lines of communication and be your child’s trusted source of information.
Mr. Pearce advised that it is important to discourage children and teens from drinking alcohol because it damages brains, increases their risk of addiction and can cause accidents that lead to an early death.
The younger people are when they start drinking, the more likely they are to have significant alcohol problems in their lifetime, including abuse and addiction, according to pediatrician Janet Williams, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.
For further information on the dangers of alcohol and other drugs, contact Talbot Partnership at 410-819-8067.