The following is written by Stephanie Patton, Organizing Against Substances In Stoughton (OASIS) Coordinator:
The holidays can be risky for teens when it comes to alcohol and other drugs. This is a time of year when there are lots of celebrations, many that involve alcohol.
In a 2010 study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, statistics from New Year’s Day in 2009 demonstrated this fact. On that day, the number of minors that ended up in the emergency room because of drinking was almost four times the average daily figure.
Here are a few tips from the Organizing Against Substances in Stoughton (OASIS) coalition to help keep your holidays happy and healthy.
- Holiday Tip #1: Set clear guidelines and expectations about drinking and other drug use with your children. Talk to your teens. You have more influence then you might think. Even if you think your teen is ignoring you, your message is still getting through to them. Research shows that when parents talk to their teens about the risks of drugs and alcohol, those teens are up to 50% less likely to use alcohol and other drugs. (www.drugfree.org/prevent)
- Holiday Tip #2: If you have alcohol in your home, keep it stored in a way that will prevent easy access for your children. If you can, keep you liquor locked up and out of sight. Be aware of the amount of alcohol you have in your home and let your children know that you are aware of it.
- Holiday Tip #3: Watch your own alcohol consumption. You are modeling behavior for your children. If you choose to drink, make sure that you are modeling responsible consumption and never drive while intoxicated.
- Holiday Tip #4: If a friend or relative has too much too drink, watch out for them and make sure your child knows that you are concerned. This is another opportunity to model responsible behavior and talk about drinking and its relationship to health and safety.