Parents Empowered is sponsoring 130 events throughout the state to educate parents on the dangers of underage drinking and ways to prevent it. Board Member Steve Wright, who’s speaking at some of the events, says many parents feel hopeless.
“Parents come to us and say, you know, I don’t have the influence on my kid. You know, if my kid chooses to drink, peer pressure, the media, all these other things are going to trump me as a parent, and I can’t stop that. The new research that we just found out is that kids tell us that the only reason that they are not going to drink is if their parents disapprove of it,” Wright said.
Wright says the key drinking time for kids is between three and 6 p.m., when many parents are at work. He tells parents to be involved in their kids lives during this time of day, and recommends they learn how to text and even join Facebook or MySpace. He says it’s not spying, just parenting.
Rob Timmerman, a Coordinator with the Coalition for Drug Free Youth, says most parents don’t realize that their kids may be introduced to alcohol as early as sixth grade. He says parents need to talk to their kids sooner about the negative effects of underage drinking, and make sure they understand it’s wrong.
“Research also shows that parents who have a favorable attitude towards alcohol in general or especially those that say hey its okay if I maybe share my beer or share a drink or let them have a sip while they are still underage, its giving them a mixed message. Kids really remember those things and act on those things,” Timmerman said.