Start early on educating your children about the consequences of underage drinking.
Talk with your child about alcohol facts, reasons not to drink, and ways to avoid drinking in difficult situations. Let them know you disapprove of drinking before age 21. Also,
- Develop family rules about teen drinking and appropriate consequences for failing to obey them...and be sure to follow though when the rules are broken.
- Know where your children are and who they are with. If they are going to a party, make sure there is adult supervision and no alcohol. Don't be afraid to drive by and check it out. If you're hosting the party:
- Make sure there is only one way into the party and monitor that entrance closely.
- Serve food in small bowls that need frequent replenishing so you can check on the kids.
- Require anyone who was not invited to leave immediately.
- Never allow parties at your home when there is not a responsible adult over the age of 21 to supervise.
- Connect with other parents, especially the parents of your children's friends. Know where they stand on this subject so know if your child is safe in their care.
- Talk to your homeowner's association or neighbors about united strategies to deal with underage drinking parties in the neighborhood, if they should occur.
- Seek help. If you believe your child is already involved with alcohol and you have been unsuccessful in your attempts to change the behavior, seek professional help.
- Speak up. Be heard. Take action. Call the police, 913-895-6300, if you witness underage drinking in your community. IT IS AGAINST THE LAW.
And remember: your attitudes and behavior toward drinking influences your child, so set a good example.