It’s hard as parents of teenagers to always have our eyes on them. We do our best at home to instill a sense of responsibility. We try to be good role models and teach them about the risks of drinking and taking drugs. But at some point they will be at a party, or at a friend’s house where they are exposed to these substances. If they make it through high school without a chance to try it, most definitely college life will open those doors.
According to a study published in 2011 from the University of Michigan, out of 20,000 teenagers, one-third of 8th graders in the U.S. reported that they had already tried alcohol. By 10th grade, more than half say that they’ve had their first drink and the number goes up to 70% by 12 th grade. These kids are generally not getting the alcohol from their parents, but at parties and from friends. Further studies show that the earlier an adolescent starts drinking, the more prone they will be to alcoholism when they get older. And, teenagers whose friends drink alcohol are three times as likely to start drinking as well.
According to one researcher with the "Family history doesn't necessarily drive the age of first drink," notes Kuperman, who has studied teen drinking for more than a decade. "It's access. At that age (14 or 15), access trumps all. As they get older, then family history plays a larger role." He also notes that there it’s likely that it’s the peer pressure that’s getting kids to drink.
The best thing we can do as parents is to give our kids the tools they need to be able to comfortably and confidently just say no. This starts with educating our kids about the risks and repercussions of using drugs and alcohol and supplying them with specific alternatives. An excellent way to do this is to enroll your child or children in alcohol and drug awareness classes online. Look at it like an after-school enrichment program that you can provide for them in the comfort of your own home. With school budgetary issues across the country, you can be sure that they are not receiving the health education like we did as teenagers.
A 16-hour online alcohol class provides the reasons why kids should say no. You might have already had this discussion with them 100 times. However, we all know that sometimes the topic coming from a third party, a licensed and practicing therapist and authority in the field, might just help it to sink in. They will learn all of the detrimental effects that drugs and alcohol have on the brain, body and social life. Classes specifically cover how these substances will change their ability to safely drive so they will think twice about ever getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. In addition, the long-term health risks are also discussed. Teenagers will walk away after spending a couple weeks on this with new skills in stress management and communication. Skills to help them walk away and not look back.
Teenagers particularly like taking these classes online because they can stay in the relaxed atmosphere of their home and don’t need to feel embarrassed in a classroom full of strangers. Parents can take the program right along side their kids so encourage discussion and answer any questions that might arise.
Have your adolescent take an online alcohol and drug awareness class as a preventative measure! Studies show that you will be happy you did!