By Jenny Stolka, Delaware County SPF-SIG Coordinator
Imagine you are sitting on your couch; the lamp is giving off a lifeless glow against the darkness through the windows. You glance at the ticking clock on the wall one more time. Your daughter is an hour late and isn’t answering her cell phone. She always calls to let you know she is running late or if she has decided to stay over at a friend’s house. Your mind starts racing through the horrible possible scenarios… there was a car accident, she was kidnapped…or maybe she is drunk and passed out somewhere. No…she doesn’t drink, she told you so.
If you have lived through this scenario, then you are probably feeling a little bit anxious right now. If you haven’t, take action now so you don’t have to! As a parent, you have the power to help reduce the chances of your child developing an alcohol problem. You can help your child learn to make smart, safe choices; you can help your youth avoid the dangers of underage drinking.
Get started today! As the parent, it is your responsibility to get involved, to be present, and to guide your child in learning how to make healthy, safe choices. In order to do that, you may need guidance and support along the way. Don’t worry, these practices will get you started on the right path.
6 Research-Supported Parenting Practices
- Build a warm, supportive relationship with your child
- Be a good role model when it comes to drinking, taking medicine and handling stress
- Know your child’s risk level
- Know your child’s friends
- Monitor, supervise, and set boundaries
- Have ongoing conversations and provide information about alcohol and other drugs
A way for parents and community members to learn more and connect with other parents is to get involved. You can do this by joining a substance free coalition or by attending community events that focus on these issues. Get your son, daughter or neighbor kid involved too. Be proactive, not reactive, when it comes to your child.
Visit www.helpingservices.org/talk for a list of upcoming community events, coalition information in your county, and more information on preventing underage drinking.