Teens who didn’t drink in high school may become vulnerable to alcohol abuse in college.
A recent study from the Journal of Primary Prevention looked into the issue of teen drinking parties.
The researchers looked at families and teens in California. They found:
- About a quarter of teens reported having had a party at their house in the past 12 months, of whom 39 % reported that there was alcohol at their last party.
- Multiple sources supplied alcohol for most parties.
- Seventy-two percent of those having a party stated that at least one of their parents knew about their last party, and 64 % reported that a parent was home at least part of the time.
- Seventy percent of youth who hosted a party with alcohol said that their parent(s) definitely knew that there was alcohol at the party, 24 % replied that their parent(s) probably knew, and only 5 % said that their parent(s) did not know that there was alcohol at the party.
We know in Sullivan County that most adults don’t want their teens using alcohol. We also know most Sullivan County teens who drink say alcohol was ‘given’ to them. Many of this ‘giving’ is from adults hosting parties.
You can make a difference. Make sure you know where your teen is going and who they’re going to be with. If you know your teen is going to a party, call ahead and make sure the parents who are hosting know your family rules about alcohol. Don’t let other parents make choices for you and your kids!
If you have a teen headed to college this year, you’ve probably thought about college drinking. Studies show that more college students are binge drinking than they did 20 or 30 years ago, and being thought of as ‘cool’ is one of the reasons.
But this heavy drinking is not inevitable. In most colleges, most students – around 60% – don’t binge.
There are things you can do as a parent to support healthy choices. The most important is to talk with your student.
- Listen to their concerns about college.
- Set clear expectations. College is a major investment! Emphasize that alcohol can interfere with learning and your student’s future plans.
- Remind them that it’s illegal to consume alcohol before 21 in all 50 states. Alcohol can lead to problems that can last far beyond college.
- Encourage them to get involved. Students are drawn to drinking because they think it will lead to social status. Getting involved in a sport, a club, or volunteer work can help boost their social lives in a healthy way.
- Talk with them about what to do when things go wrong. How do they plan to get out of uncomfortable situations? What will they do if they want to study and a roommate wants to party? Talking through these potential problems can help them be ready for unexpected problems.
These conversations are most effective before the student leaves for their freshman year, but it is never too late to support healthy choices and remind your student they have a caring adult they can talk to.