"Parents are assuming that other parents are letting their kids drink, but they don't think that their own child is drinking," said Kerri MacLaury, program manager for Southshire Partnership for a Healthy Community in Vermont. "There's an obvious perception gap that ‘my kid never drinks, but so many other kids are drinking.'"
MacLaury's remarks are related to The Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a federal government research tool used by states to assess how much drinking is going on in their schools. Survey results concerning teenage alcohol use, were completed by more than 200 parents of teens in Southwestern Vermont. Here are some of the highlights:
High percentage of parents don't think their child is drinking - 83 percent of parents with children in middle school and 65 percent of those with children in high school answered that their child had not consumed alcohol in the past year.
But parents do think other kids are drinking. Just 11 percent of middle school parents and 2 percent of high school parents said they thought most students the same age hadn't drunk alcohol in that time.
Students said actual drinking is contradictory to what parents thought. Thirty six percent of Vermont students saying they drank alcohol in the previous 30 days on the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
So this is only a microcosm of the entire nation but it does emphasize a persistent trend that there is a lack of clear and honest communication between kids and parents about alcohol use.
I hate to sound like a broken record but talk to your kids about alcohol as young as you can and keep the conversation going.