Everyone Is NOT Doing It
In March, I wrote about the prevalence and danger of binge drinking and its consequences. The statistics were incredibly real and very frightening! However, let’s not always focus on the negative, which is the norm in the news and media. How we state the FACTS effects our beliefs. While unhealthy behaviors like binge drinking are common and critical, they are not necessarily the behavior of the majority.
Look at these examples from the latest Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey (2012):
- For every one binge drinking high school student in Florida, there are three (75%) who have are NOT engaging in binge drinking.
- 2.3% of surveyed middle school students owned up to drinking alcohol and 4% admitted to binge drinking in the past 30 days. That means that approximately 7 out of 8 middle school students in Florida did not drink alcohol and 24 out of 25 did not engage in binge drinking in the last month.
- Among high school students, 8.1% reported driving when they had been drinking alcohol. The good news: 91.9% of high school students did not drive under the influence of alcohol.
What can we learn from this? Focus on the positive and what's possible when delivering drug messages to your kids.
Prevention research shows when young people are told most kids are not drinking, etc., they are surprised. Why? They (and we) see the headlines and hear bad news and assume most people are engaging in bad behaviors. This isn’t surprising with the infinite number of “drinking is sexy or cool” messages received on a regular basis through alcohol advertising, social media, movies, etc.
The GOOD NEWS is that STUDIES SHOW THAT WHEN YOUNG PEOPLE SEE THAT THE MAJORITY OF OTHER YOUNG PEOPLE ARE NOT ENGAGING IN RISKY BEHAVIOR, SUCH AS BINGE DRINKING, THEY ARE LESS LIKELY TO DO IT THEMSELVES!
What else do we know for sure?
1. The perception of harm will decrease risky behavior. The more our children understand about the risks involved, the less likely they are to do it. So it is still important to know and state the harms of alcohol and drug use to you kids.
Our advice: Educate your children with the FACTS. Informed Families is here to help.
2. Parental disapproval will decrease risky behavior.
Our advice: They are actually listening so talk to them and set clear guidelines!
Sadly, among high school students surveyed, 44.0% reported that their parents think it’s okay for them to drink alcohol “on special occasions,” “sometimes,” or “whenever I want.” While that implies that the majority of parents (56%) do NOT condone underage drinking, we still clearly have work to do.
Join the network of tens of thousands of other parents willing to take a stand against underage drinking by signing the Safe Homes Safe Parties pledge today. Then, talk to your kids about the risks, set guidelines, express your disapproval and let them know that EVERYONE ISN’T DOING IT.
Happy Mother’s Day! Being a Mom is hard work. Thank you!