Kids are growing up much faster than we realize or want. It’s a fact of life that few parents want to face. Between television, video games, friends, and social media, your kids may know more about alcohol than you think. So, how can parents find the help they need? Thankfully, there are teen alcohol prevention programs designed to do just that.
Studies show that the most effective prevention programs are those that incorporate an interactive approach in their messaging. That’s why the Take the Pledge program from Talk It Out has been so successful in raising awareness about teen drinking and getting families to start the conversation. Here’s what you need to know about this innovative alcohol prevention program and how you can use it to connect with teens about the dangers of drinking alcohol underage.
Teens Listen When You Take the Pledge
Even though it’s the last thing they would admit, children and teens listen to parents more than you think. Words from parents carry weight. That includes discussing underage alcohol use. But we’re not talking about punishing teens for drinking (although you should enforce an appropriate punishment). We’re talking about having an open conversation about drinking, the facts, and the consequences. It starts when teens and parents take the pledge.
When Parents Take the Pledge
Parents can help prevent underage drinking when they take the pledge and start the conversation with their teens. When parents Take the Pledge, they are committing to setting a healthy example for their children regarding alcohol. That means walking the walk just as much as they talk the talk when it comes to the responsible behaviors they want to see in their teens.
Parents also promise not to punish their teen for calling them if their teen is in an unsafe situation. Making the decision to call your parents if you feel unsafe or uncomfortable is a smart choice, and a decision that should be praised instead of punished.
When Teens Take the Pledge
What makes the Take the Pledge program so effective is that it is an interactive conversation between teens and their parents, coaches, teachers, and friends. We encourage a two-way dialogue between families where they can discuss the fears and facts associated with underage drinking. By respecting and engaging with young people, they will be more likely to listen to your advice.
When they Take the Pledge, teenagers aren’t making promises they can’t keep. Instead, they agree not to drive or allow anyone else to drive if they have been drinking. They also agree to call for help if they find themselves in an unsafe situation. Lastly, they pledge to sit down and talk it out with their parents about drinking underage and why avoiding it is so important.
Tackling Underage Drinking Takes a Team Effort
It isn’t just parents looking for ways to connect with their children about drinking underage. It’s coaches, too! The relationship between a coach and an athlete is a strong bond that can have a powerful influence in a young person’s life. That’s why it is so important that coaches remain committed to helping their athletes make smart life choices.
The Coach Pledge Program from Talk It Out NC is an alcohol prevention program geared toward coaches and their athletes. The program encourages coaches to create supportive environments where players can feel comfortable approaching their coach if they or their friends are making unsound decisions or need support. The program also engages the athletes themselves to support each other in making smart decisions, and ensure they are at the top of their game when they avoid drinking.
Partnering with Students to Prevent Underage Drinking
In addition to coaches, the Take the Pledge program works closely with student-run SADD chapters (Students Against Destructive Decisions) to aid them in their own battle against teen drinking. By providing teens with the tools they need to combat teen alcohol use, we empower students to make the right life choices for a bright future.
SADD began in 1981 as Student Against Drunk Driving with the goal of providing young people the support they need to make the right decisions. The organization changed its name to Students Against Destructive Decisions in 1997 as it expanded its mission to encourage the avoidance of drugs, tobacco, and other unhealthy choices.
Start the Conversation with Your Teenager Today
The best part of starting the conversation about underage drinking with teens is that anyone can do it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a parent or a coach. It could be a teacher or a school counselor hoping to connect with students. It could even be your teen’s friends, in an example of positive peer pressure.
A big part of the Take the Pledge program is starting the conversation with young people about the dangers of consuming alcohol underage. Of course, we also know that talking about a subject like alcohol can be easier said than done.
To help you begin your own talk, we put together conversation starters to help parents and teachers get the ball rolling. With prompts and suggestions on what to say and what to do, we give parents the tools they need to start their own conversation and prevent underage drinking.
Stop Underage Drinking with Alcohol Prevention Programs
Preventing underage drinking can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. However, when alcohol prevention programs empower parents and teens with the right tools, it’s incredible what we can accomplish together.
The path to preventing teen drinking begins when you Take the Pledge to talk it out. All you need is yourself, your teenager, and your pledge card. Take the Pledge together with your teen today and start your own journey to stop teen drinking.