Inside the Newsroom

News, commentary, insight on local happenings and fun from the staff of The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Is your teen drinking?

Red Ribbon Week is being observed this year from October 20-28. It is the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign the country. The children in Saline area schools will participate in activities to enlighten and educate them to the danger of drugs and alcohol. Ask your children to share with you what they have learned this week. Read through the materials they will bring home and use this occasion to open a loving conversation with your child about your concerns and expectations involving living a drug and alcohol free childhood.

As a parent you are your children’s first line of defense in helping them choose to make good decisions. In a recent survey on underage drinking, teens reported that parental disapproval is the #1 reason they choose note to drink. Here are some additional strategies you can use:

Bonding: Children who feel close to their parents are less likely to drink.
1. Create a positive loving home environment – model kindness and respect. Plan fun activities as a family
2. Have daily positive interaction – notice and acknowledge the good in your child
3. Notice your child’s emotional well being – watch for signs of excess stress or depression

Boundaries: Unclear rules and expectations leave kids vulnerable
1. Teach the risks of underage drinking - begin talking with your children early, before age 8
2. Set clear rules and expectations – emphasize that alcohol use and possession is illegal before the age of 21
3. Help kids to choose friends wisely – get to know your kids’ friends and their parents. Having peers who drink is the single greatest risk factor for underage alcohol use
Monitoring: Trust but verify
1. Know your child’s activities – it is your responsibility to know where your children are, who they are with, and what they are doing
2. Ensure an alcohol free environment – call hosting parents to check that there will be supervision and no alcohol on premises
3. Maintain monitoring practices – drop in unannounced. The occasional surprise visit lets your children know you can arrive anytime
Staying involved isn't easy. Parents are busier than ever before. Yet making the extra effort listed above will make a powerful difference in keeping your child drug and alcohol free. The result is a child that can grow up addiction free, with a healthy, fully functioning brain. A little extra effort now will save a lot of time, grief, and effort later. For more information, click on

Written by Gretchen McCann, Communication Director for SCRUD -Saline Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking.



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