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Discuss alcohol abuse in children? – Part 2

• Many kids and teens try alcohol during their high school and college years.
• It is long before it’s legal for them to drink it.
• Research has shown that nearly 80% of high school kids have tried alcohol.
• So it’s important to start discussing alcohol use and abuse with your kids at an early age.
• Keep talking about it as they grow up.

Effects of Alcohol Abuse

• Alcohol interferes with a person’s perception of reality and ability to make good decisions.
• This can be particularly hazardous for kids and teens that have less problem-solving and decision-making experience.

Ages 12 to 17
• By the teen years, your kids should know the facts about alcohol and your attitudes and beliefs about substance abuse.
• Use this time to reinforce what you’ve already taught them.
• Focus on keeping the lines of communication open with them.
• Teens are more likely to engage in risky behaviors.
• Their increasing need for independence may make them want to defy their parents’ wishes or instructions.
• Make your teen feel accepted and respected as an individual.
• This will increase the chances that your child will try to be open with you.
• Kids want to be liked and accepted by their peers.
• They need a certain degree of privacy and trust.
• Avoid excessive preaching and threats.
• Emphasize your love and concern.

Teaching Kids to Say “No”
• Teach kids a variety of approaches to deal with offers of alcohol.
• Encourage them to ask questions.
• Teach them to say “no, thanks” when the drink offered is an alcoholic one.
• Remind them to leave any uncomfortable situation.
• Make sure they have money for transportation or a phone number to reach a responsible adult.
• Teach kids never to accept a ride from someone who has been drinking.

Risk Factors Involved
• Times of transition, such as the onset of puberty or a parents’ divorce, can lead kids to alcohol use.
• Teach your kids that even when life is upsetting or stressful and drinking alcohol is not an escape.
• Kids who have problems with self-control or low self-esteem are more likely to abuse alcohol.
• They may not believe that they can handle their problems and frustrations.
• Kids without a sense of connectedness with their families may also be at risk.
• Those who find it hard to believe in them desperately need the love and support of parents or other family members.

General Tips for controlling alcohol abuse

• Be a good role model.
• Consider how your use of alcohol or medications may influence your kids.
• Consider offering only nonalcoholic beverages at parties and other social events.
• Educate yourself about alcohol.
• Read and collect information that you can share with kids and other parents.
• Try to be conscious of how you can help build your child’s self-esteem.
• Teach kids to manage stress in healthy ways.

Recognizing the Signs
• The odor of alcohol.
• Sudden change in mood or attitude.
• Change in attendance or performance at school.
• Loss of interest in school, sports, or other activities.
• Discipline problems at school.
• Withdrawal from family and friends.
• Secrecy.
• Association with a new group of friends and reluctance to introduce them to you.
• Alcohol disappearing from your home.
• Depression and developmental difficulties.

Tips for Parents

• Keep a check on where your kids go.
• Parents should know their child’s friends.
• Make sure to have a phone number where you can reach your child.
• Check kids regularly when they’re away from home.
• When spending a long time away from you, your child should check in periodically with a phone call, e-mail, or visit home.

Recognizing and Managing Children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Fetal Alcohol Free Adult Children of Alcoholics Don’t Let Your Kids Kill You

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