GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The holidays are a popular time for young people to participate in underage drinking and Halloween is no exception.
Talk It Out NC is encouraging parents to have open and honest conversations with their kids about drinking before they find themselves in potentially spooky situations.
“The first and most important thing that we encourage parents to do is to start the conversation,” said Kurtis Taylor, a Talk It Out NC campaign ambassador. “Actually have this important conversation with your kids about the dangers presented by underage drinking.”
The adolescent brain is not fully developed and therefore is more susceptible to the harmful effects alcohol can have.
According to Taylor, more than half of American households plan to include alcohol in their Halloween celebrations.
Talk It Out N.C. has a few talking points for when you have a conversation about underage drinking.
- Address Peer Pressure: Talk with the teen in your life about how to say no to their peers. Suggest that they serve as the DJ at the Halloween party, so they will be “too busy” to drink. Have your child blame you, “my parents are very strict and will check on me when I get home.”
- Set Ground Rules: Know when your child’s event begins and ends. Have your child provide the name and phone number of the adult in charge at the party. Ensure that there is an “escape” plan if things get out of hand.
- Connect with Other Parents: It is important that you know where your child is spending his or her time. While a minor is in the care of another adult, that adult is responsible for anything that happens on their property. Talk with other parents about the liability and potential consequences of serving alcohol to anyone underage.
- Make it Easy for Your Child to Talk with You: Tell your child that you care about them and their future success. If your child is talking with you, listen. Seek opportunities to share examples and facts about under-age drinking.
- Explain that Under-Age Drinking is Illegal: According to the 2018 NSDUH, about 7.1 million Americans between the ages of 12 and 20 report current alcohol consumption; this represents nearly 20% of this age group for whom alcohol consumption is illegal.
- Ask and Answer Questions: Engage your teen when something relevant, like an alcohol-related accident, occurs in your community. Ask them for their thoughts about the tragedy. If your child has a question about the age restrictions for consuming alcohol, explain that their brains are still developing, and it is unsafe for them to drink at their age.
- Greet Your Child When They Return from a Party: This is a way for you to ensure that they arrive safely and to learn about the party.
Another tip from Taylor is to host the party yourself so you can ensure proper behavior and safety for the teens.
Now is the best time to have this conversation and it should be ongoing and regular.
Taylor also encourages teens and their parents to take the Talk It Out N.C. pledge.
Adults are pledging to have a conversation with their kids and additionally pledging to show and promote healthy and responsible behavior pertaining to alcohol.
Teens are pledging to not drink underage, not get in the car with anyone who is under the influence of alcohol and engage in honest conversation with their parents.