Answering Your Child’s Tough Questions About Alcohol

From the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

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Some questions about alcohol can be hard to answer, so it’s important to be prepared. The following are common questions and answers about underage drinking.

“I got invited to a party. Can I go?”

Ask your child if an adult will be present at the party or if he or she thinks children will be drinking. Remind your child that even being at a party where there is underage drinking can get him or her into trouble. Use this time to establish or reinforce your rules about alcohol and outline the behavior you expect.

“Did you drink when you were a kid?”

Don’t let your past stop you from talking to your child about underage drinking. If you drank as a teenager, be honest. Acknowledge that it was risky. Make sure to emphasize that we now know even more about the risks to children who drink underage. You could even give your child an example of a painful moment that occurred because of your underage drinking.

“Why do you drink?”

Make a distinction between alcohol use among children and among adults. Explain to your child your reasons for drinking: whether it is to enhance a meal, share good times with friends, or celebrate a special occasion. Point out that if you choose to drink, it is always in moderation. Tell your child that some people should not drink at all, including underage children.

“What if my friends ask me to drink?”

Helping your child say “no” to peer pressure is one of the most important things you can do to keep him or her alcohol-free. Work with your child to think of a way to handle this situation, whether it is simply saying, “No, I don’t drink,” or saying, “I promised my mom (or dad) that I wouldn’t drink.”

“You drink alcohol, so why can’t I?”

Remind your child that underage drinking is against the law, and for good reason. Point out that adults are fully developed mentally and physically so they can handle drinking. Children’s minds and bodies, however, are still growing, so alcohol can have a greater effect on their judgment and health.

“Why is alcohol bad for me?”

Don’t try to scare your child about drinking or tell him or her, “You can’t handle it.” Instead, tell your child that alcohol can be bad for his or her growing brain, interferes with judgment, and can make him or her sick. Once children hear the facts and your opinions about them, it is easier for you to make rules and enforce them.

For monthly tips on talking to your kids about alcohol and other drugs, text “linntogether” to 88202.

Linn County S.T.A.N.D. Students Create ENDS Prevention Posters

Linn Together, in collaboration with the Linn County Public Health Department Tobacco Prevention Program and Linn County S.T.A.N.D. (Students Taking Action Not Drinking) created a media campaign to raise awareness among youth about the harms related to electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). The artwork for the three posters (artist interpretations) was hand-drawn by Linn County S.T.A.N.D. students.

Vapes, vape pens, and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are just a few of the many different types of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). In Linn County, the increase in popularity of ENDS use among youth is alarming. This is concerning as emerging research suggests that e-cigarette use may lead to initiation of the use of conventional cigarettes*.

The campaign was funded through a grant from Samaritan Health Services and donations made to Linn County S.T.A.N.D. in memory of Marie Louise “Scotte” Mascotte. If you would like posters for your agency or business please contact Shannon Snair at Linn County Alcohol and Drug at 541-967-3819 or by email at ssnair@co.linn.or.us.

*U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health 2016.