Alone young woman in depression, drinking alcohol (burbon)Alcohol use among adolescents continues to be a concerning problem. While 71% of teens have tried alcohol by the time they’re in high school, even more scary is that 8% have driven while intoxicated. Parents can play an important role in preventing underage alcohol use. We’ve covered alcohol use previous posts, but wanted to highlight an opportunity for parents to learn more about alcohol prevention from experts that will happen on April 25, 2013:

In partnership with the Prevention WINS coalition, the Seattle Children’s Division of Adolescent Medicine invites parents to a special movie night that is free and open to the public.

Underage Drinking: A Parent’s Role in Prevention
Thursday, April 25, 2013
6-8:00 p.m.
Seattle Children’s Hospital, Wright Auditorium

Hosted by Roberta Romero, Reporter for KING5-TV:

  • Hear from a former Seattle high school student about the personal consequences of underage drinking.
  • Follow Officer Kipp Strong, Seattle Police Department, as he discusses his experiences with underage drinking in Seattle parks.
  • Learn from Dr. Leslie R. Walker, Chief of Adolescent Medicine, Seattle Children’s Hospital about what parents can do to prevent underage drinking

After the 15-minute video, join in a discussion with the story, underage drinking, and the role of parents and community members in preventing underage drinking.  Members of Nathan Hale High School’s Raiders Against Destructive Decisions (RADD) will present their findings of a recent assessment of the retailing practices among local convenience stores that sell alcohol and tobacco.

In the video, Dr. Walker provides parents with tips for preventing underage drinking and drug use among their children.   Since teens who drink in high school usually start by freshman year, parents should start using these tips before high school.

  1. Model healthy behaviors.  Think about what messages you send to your children if you drink.  Most adults can and do drink responsibly so talk to your child about what that means.  Talk about the importance of waiting to use alcohol until they are an adult.
  2. Keep lines of communication open between you and your teen.  Guide your teen through role plays to help them figure out how to get out of uncomfortable social situations where they may be pressured to drink.
  3. Explicitly tell your teen that you expect them not to drink.  Follow through on reasonable consequences if they do.
  4. When they socialize with friends, ask questions about where they are going and who they will be with.
  5. Network with other parents.  Most parents think underage drinking is not acceptable.  The more parents communicate with one another the more they can join forces  toward the mutual goal of preventing underage drinking.

For more information about this special Adolescent Medicine Movie Night, please contact Inga Manskopf, Prevention WINS Coordinator, at (206) 987-7612.