Teens and Alcohol

By AM Northwest Staff

Dr. Kathie Masarie joined us today to talk about the issue of teens and alcohol. She gave us some facts as well as some tips on how to educate and talk to your teen about alcohol. Watch the video and check out the advice below: 

Your teen will be faced with this question at one time or another: "What will you do about smoking, drinking, drugs, or other addictive stuff?" The only person who actually has control over that decision is your teen. What can parents do to influence that decision to be the healthiest one?



Please read the following to learn more:

  1. How prevalent is drinking among Oregon Youth
    1. 2007- who drank in past 30 days: 8th graders: 30%/ 11th nearly 50%
  2. What is the damage
    1. Reduced activity as is shown on this Brain scans (SHOW SCAN)
      1. poorer in school/socially, may even get depressed, suicidal, violent
      2. An athlete who binges on Sat- poorer performance until Thursday
    2. Long-term damage on young brains may be permanent
    3. If 15 or under-when start drinking- 4 X more likely to get addicted
  3. Why is it such a problem today- many, many reasons but some are:
    1. Drinking is what cool kids do-there is extra pressure on popular kids
    2. Media has a pervasive message of this- focus beer ads on magazines with youth readership
      1. (SEE ADS- have fun (GAME BOY) have sex (GET IT STARTED)
    3. Easy access and cheap –it is parties/friends/older siblings/ homes
      1. the source you can stop is to lock up your own liquor cabinet-
    4. Many adults think beer is "no big deal" when actually it leads to more damage than all illegal drugs combined
  4. What can parents do – stay connected with them and put in support structures to reduce the opportunities
    1. Open Communication- to maximize your influence- keep the dialogue open.
      1. Parent-teen connection is the #1 way to protect your teen from risky behavior (JAMA ’97)
      2. You will have the most influence if you know what they are thinking- otherwise they may just go underground. Foster Emotional Honesty: Emotional honesty admitting your fears, and asking them to help you understand
      3. Inform yourself and your teen: Teens want to share fair and balanced information about drug use/addiction/alcohol poisoning,/date rape/ drinking and driving
      4. Share your Values: sharing values is not same as imposing them on children, which is impossible. Model too
      5. Be open about family history- their genetic predisposition
    2. Effective Parenting
      1. Use Long Term Parenting Strategies: Clarity Supporting Empowerment to self-discipline/ responsibility.
      2. Don’t Rescue or Buffer Children from the Consequences of their own Behaviors:
      3. Allow for Differences: unlikely that your kids will feel just like you do when it comes to drugs and alcohol,.
      4. Show Love and Unconditional Acceptance: love and unconditional acceptance in spite of behaviors
      5. Know when to get help: Getting help is a wise investment in a family’s health.
    3. Safety- top priority is safety "Don’t die"
      1. Contract for Life- don’t drive in car with someone drunk, always wear seat-belt
      2. Free ride home- Taxi fare/friend/ no questions asked
      3. Do what you can do to keep them from drinking before 15- easier to monitor them until they get wheels Don’t get addicted
      4. Influence them to stay as far to the left of this continuum as you can

      Abstinenceà experimentalà socialà regularà heavy drinking à Binge drinking/blackouts

    4. Reduce access
      1. Lock up your liquor cabinet
      2. Don’t let underage kids drink in your home - you are libel for anything that happens
      3. Reduce party houses by not leaving your home unsupervised.
      4. Stay networked with your teens friends parents
      5. Learn how to supervise a party- kids go in and out of he house to their car to get alcohol
      6. Work with school – so that a star by a name in the roster means a family has read/signed a contract that they will only have supervised parties in their homes
    5. Build a Community who Supports Teens in Healthy ways
      1. Work to provide fun things to do on Friday or Saturday night- also important in college
      2. Pick colleges with high standards for reducing alcohol on campuses
      3. Support Legislative action
        1. Curfew- no one out 12-5
        2. Graduated driving
        3. Stricter rules/consequences in high schools and college
        4. Mandated classes like - MIP class by Legacy Trauma Nurses Who Talk Tough

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.


Oregon Partnership http://www.orpartnership.org/

Oregon Partnership is a statewide non-profit promoting healthy kids and communities through drug and alcohol awareness, prevention programs, and a 24 hour crisis line for treatment referrals. We work with schools and community coalitions statewide, and our resource library is open to all to educate on the dangers of substance abuse.

Legacy Trauma Nurses Talk Tough

Minor-in-Possession class

Graduated Driver’s License Workshops


Positive Discipline for Teenagers by Jane Nelson

What to do when your teen’s behavior scares you?

Dying to Drink: Confronting Binge Drinking on College Campuses by HenryWechsler


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