Alcohol Awareness Month: YScreen Newsletter April 2018
Alcohol is the most widely used substance of abuse among America’s youth, and drinking by young people poses enormous health and safety risks. Alcohol affects two crucial parts of the brain which are vulnerable when a teenager is developing. This can result in brain changes that can impact decision making, personality, memory and learning. Numerous studies have also shown that heavy alcohol use in teens greatly increases the risk of depression, anxiety, self-harm behavior, and psychosis.
*NHS Quality improvement Scotland, Understanding alcohol misuse in Scotland: Harmful drinking three – alcohol and self-harm’ 2007.
Although it may not always seem like it, the voice of a parent is very important and has an influence on the decisions youth make. Read below for tips on how to talk to your child about alcohol use and watch this excellent short clip for help!
Explain the risks of alcohol use (ex. One of the leading causes of teen deaths is motor vehicle crashes involving alcohol. Drinking also makes a young person more vulnerable to sexual assault and unprotected sex.)
Set clear rules, limits, and expectations (ex. Kids will not drink alcohol until they are 21 or ride in a vehicle with someone who has been drinking.)
Encourage conversations and questions (ex. Establish open communication. Show you care. Understand that your child is growing up.)
Give your child the tools and self-confidence to say no (ex. Teach them how to say no and let them know you mean it. Stand up straight. Make eye contact. Say how you feel. Don’t make excuses. Stand up for yourself.)
Be honest about your family history (ex. Whether or not you personally have a history of addiction, it can be beneficial to offer information of previous family addictions and explain to them the increased risk that this offers them if they indulge in drugs or alcohol.)
*NIAAA Publications. https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/makeadiff_html/makediff.htm
YScreen is an emotional health screen and here to support youth and parents throughout Fond du Lac County. If you would like to request screening for your child or would like more information about YScreen, please contact us at (920) 906-6700 ext. 4714.