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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Kids Cannot Argue with the Science of How Drinking Hurts

I was chatting with a fellow mom recently about our 13 year-old sons, one of those reassuring parent conversations when both of you realize your child’s crazy behavior is normal for his age.

We discussed how our sons had figured out that the end of eighth grade doesn’t count toward high school. That they are scared of taking this next step but will not admit it. That they don’t appear all that interested yet in girls, alcohol, or drugs.

According to a recent study, 14 year-olds are three times more likely than 13 year-olds to attend parties where parents are “supervising” and kids are drinking alcohol behind their backs. Science can help you broach the subject without seeming preachy.

In the spring of 2009, I attended the 51st International Conference of Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous (ICYPAA), sat in on more than a dozen sessions, interviewed attendees, and listened to the stories of many others. Almost all of these young alcoholics began drinking in middle school or freshman year of high school.

Why? High school can be terrifying. No matter what your child hears from friends and older siblings, she cannot imagine what high school will be like. She desperately wants to fit in. If that means chugging Red Bull, she may well do it. If her friends have upgraded to beer, she will consider and possibly do that.

Now that you’ve heard why you should talk to your adolescent about alcohol and science, and have a better understanding of how alcohol affects the body, it’s time to begin the discussion. Even though your child might be arguing with you about everything else, it’s hard to argue with science. That’s what we’re counting on.

Here's a YouTube video you and your teen should check out.

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