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Parent and family involvement best preventer of summer underage drinking

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4Utah) – Parents Empowered is the state’s underage drinking prevention initiative. Rob Timmerman, Salt Lake County Prevention Coordinator & Parents Empowered Workgroup member, says they are committed to providing parents the tools and resources to help eliminate underage alcohol use in Utah so that kids can have healthy brains and reach their full potential.

Parents are the focus for a couple of reasons. First, because kids report that the number one reason they choose not to drink while underage is because of parental disapproval. Parents are a huge influence in their kids’ life. They definitely trump peer pressure.

The second reason is because ultimately, underage drinking is an adult problem. Kids can’t get access to alcohol without the help of an adult. Did you know that in Utah, of those kids who drink, 43% get their alcohol at home, with their parents’ permission?

Students report that parental disapproval is the number one reason they don’t drink. In addition, studies show that if a child perceives that their parents view underage drinking as acceptable, it dramatically increases the likelihood a child will drink. (Utah Student Health and Risk Prevention Study, 2017) And teens who get alcohol at home from parents are 40% more likely to binge drink when parents aren’t around.

Summertime provides great opportunities to spend time having fun with your kids. It doesn’t have to be some big activity. Just get involved in their world. Do things that they’re interested in doing. Play a video game. Go on a bike ride or throw a frisbee at the park. Watch their favorite YouTube channel with them. Bake cookies together. Research shows that if your child feels close to you and enjoys spending time with you, they are much less likely to drink underage.

In addition, many families have both parents working full-time during the summer, so it’s important to check in with your teens—text or call them during the day to see who they’re with and that they have planned activities. If you can help provide safe, enjoyable, “no-alcohol” activities for your teens and their friends during the summer, it will go a long way to ensuring their social environment remains alcohol-free.

Please visit ParentsEmpowered.org for lots of tips and resources parents can use to help prevent underage drinking.

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