This summer. Your child home alone. What could go wrong?
Many parents are a little more lax with our kids in the summer, saying yes to never-ending sleepovers, later curfews, and all-around increased independence. Add in parent-free afternoons and—man—our kids are really getting down time.
Turns out all this unsupervised time can be quite dangerous. Studies suggest that June and July are peak months for kids 12 and older to try alcohol for the first time. That means that when you think your child is playing video games or watching movies with friends, they may actually be drinking. It’s natural for all kids to be curious about alcohol—so even if your child is a “good” kid, they still might want to see what all the fuss is all about.
As a parent, make a commitment to plan a summer that allows your kid to really just be a kid.
What can happen to your child when they drink underage?
- Alcohol can make learning a struggle. Teen brains are still developing, and alcohol can impact memory and learning for life.
- A hangout session might turn into date rape, or your child might have consensual sex they’ll later regret or feel ashamed of. Drinking impacts our children’s ability to make wise decisions.
- Get ready for the medical and legal bills. Drinking can spur aggressive behavior like fighting and crime.
- Insert your worst nightmare here. If you can think of something dumb or dangerous, kids will do it when they’re drinking.
How can you keep them alcohol-free this summer?
- Keep your child busy with worthwhile activities this summer! Sign them up for anything and everything you think they may enjoy. Besides restricting the amount of time they’ll have to engage in negative behaviors, you’ll be helping them find a passion that will provide them with self-confidence and a group of like-minded friends.
- Talk to your child about alcohol in the beginning of the summer. Tell them you don’t approve of underage drinking, and paint a vivid picture of the risks. Research shows that kids whose parents don’t approve of underage drinking (and frequently tell them so!) are less likely to drink.
- Set consequences for drinking and other negative behaviors like missing curfew.
- Get to know the parents of your child’s friends. Check in to make sure parents will be home during sleepovers and parties.
- Check in with your child throughout the day. Know where they are and who they’re with. Stop by unexpectedly every once in a while to check in and take them to lunch.
- Schedule lots of family dinners and summer activities. Kids with strong family relationships are less likely to drink!
Tags: #findtheirpassion, alcohol, family, Idaho, teen, teen passion, underage drinking