Back to school is a great time to talk to kids about underage drinking

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Parents Empowered is the state’s underage drinking prevention initiative. We are committed to providing parents the tools and resources to help eliminate underage drinking in Utah so that kids can reach their full potential.

Parents Empowered speaks to parents for a couple of reasons. First, because kids themselves 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 or permissiveness of an adult.

Did you know that in Utah, of those kids who drink, 43% get their alcohol at home, with their parents’ permission?

Back to school is a great time to have a conversation with your kids about your family expectations and rules that they will not drink before age 21. With kids starting a new school year, they’re creating new friendships. Parents Empowered suggests getting to know your kids’ new friends to ensure that their social environment remains alcohol-free. Also, it’s a good time to remind kids if they go to a party and alcohol is present that they can call or text you and you’ll come to get them.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently recommended that you have that conversation with your kids as early as age 9. Research has shown that from the ages of 9 to 13, kids are formulating their perceptions about alcohol use. At age 9, they tend to have a negative impression of drinking, but as they move through the pre-teen years, that perception can often change to be more positive. That’s why you want to start the ongoing conversation early.

Parents Empowered has lots of tips and resources parents can use to start these conversations and help prevent underage drinking on their website or also on Facebook.

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