Why Talk with Your Children about Underage Drinking
Parents, why should you talk with your children about underage drinking? That’s the question that Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, the Orange County Health Department, and the Town of Chapel Hill want to help you answer.
Their campaign, A Conversation Worth Having, presents four reasons why parents should talk with their kids about alcohol:
- Kids will have to make decisions about alcohol—it’s not if, but when. In fact, although underage drinking is at an all-time low, 42 percent of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders report having consumed alcohol in their lifetime.
- Families are the number one influence on children’s decisions about drinking. Research tells us that 89 percent of families believe that they hold the leading influence over their children’s decisions about alcohol, and 80 percent of children feel that their parents should have a say in whether they drink alcohol.
- Alcohol affects children’s brains differently. Drinking underage negatively affects brain development and can cause alterations in the structure and function of the developing brain.
- Children have access to alcohol. Over two-thirds of underage drinkers didn’t pay for alcohol the last time they drank, and a majority of current underage drinkers reported family and friends as their source for the alcohol they consumed. Parents can model responsible behavior and take care to secure and monitor their alcohol.
A Conversation Worth Having is an evidence-based campaign that empowers families across the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community to dialogue with their children about underage alcohol use.
“Some parents might fear that that having these conversations could plant the seed for future use. But research tells us that’s just not true. Think about it this way—not setting clear expectations about underage drinking could condone the behavior. Parents deserve to have a say in their kids’ decisions about alcohol.” says Jim Wise, the Student Assistance Program Specialist at Chapel Hill High School.
Many community organizations have signed on to be a part of the campaign including local police departments, PTAs, The Y, Boomerang, Freedom House, the UNC Chapel Hill Division of Student Affairs, and the Orange County ABC Board.
The campaign will continue with two more phases addressing how to talk with children about alcohol and how social media and mental health interact with alcohol. Learn more at www.downtownchapelhill.com/parent-campaign.
Scarlett Steinert | Director of Athletics and Healthful Living, CHCCS | 919-967-8211 ext. 28284
Elinor Landess | Director, Campus & Community Coalition | 919-928-5735
Jim Wise | Student Assistance Program Specialist, Chapel Hill High School | 919-929-2106 ext. 41270
Donna King | Director, Health Promotion and Education Services, Orange County Health Dept. | 919-245-2449
Jim Huegerich | Ombuds, Town of Chapel Hill | 919-538-5483