Underage Drinking Heats up in the Summer
As the summer season approaches people tend to become more relaxed. Parents are excited they no longer have to worry about their child’s academic achievements. Summer means less responsibilities and less adult supervision. Parents may not enforce the same rules during the summer as they do in the school year. All of this can create a dangerous storm that sometimes results in underage drinking and dangerous activity.
Alcohol remains the most widely used drug by our youth. Wisconsin’s rate of underage drinking has dropped significantly, about 65 percent of Wisconsin high school students reported having at least one drink ever. That is 5 percent higher than the national average. Parents need to be actively talking to their children about the dangers of underage drinking, driving after alcohol, or riding in a vehicle with someone who has consumed alcohol. The Office of National Drug Control Policy created the acronym S.U.M.M.E.R. to help parents start the conversation about the risks associated with alcohol abuse.
Set rules. Have a discussion with your kids about any expectations or guidelines you have relating alcohol consumption.
Understand and communicate. Open communication is a two-way street. Give your kids the chance to talk to you and listen to any questions or concerns they may present. Listen to what they have to say and go from there.
Monitor activities. We all know life gets hectic between everything going on. It’s important to remain attentive for signs that may indicate your child is abusing alcohol.
Make sure you stay involved. Make an effort to show your kids that you are concerned about their health in safety. In doing so, they will be more comfortable coming to you for advice.
Encourage involvement of summer activities. Encourage them to make a list of summer programs they want to take part in. Offer your help to come up with ideas. Staying busy during the summer months will help keep them out of trouble.
Reserve time for family. Take some time each day to spend with your kids. Find some things that interest them and enjoy time together.
When alcohol is involved, summer will end but consequences can continue after summer. You can have fun in the sun and still be safe. If you are hosting a party or gathering, be sure to:
- Offer a variety of nonalcoholic drinks
- Provide a variety of healthy foods and snacks
- Help your guests get home safely- use designated drivers
- If you are a parent, understand the underage drinking laws- and set a good example.
Underage drinking heats up in the summer for a lot of kids, but make sure your kids are not one. Rather than stopping your kids from going to summer events altogether take this time to openly discuss the dangers of alcohol abuse. Children respect what their parents have to say when it comes to serious matter – more so than you may believe. If you you would like to read more about mental health and other topics https://www.tellurian.org/blog/