New Jersey -- Responsible attitudes and behaviors regarding alcohol use as an adult are established during a person’s pre-teen and teen years, when parents and family members set behavior examples and boundaries surrounding alcohol consumption.
In recognition of Alcohol Awareness Month observed in April, the DART Coalition of Ocean County, an initiative of Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention that has brought together community leaders to reduce substance abuse in Ocean County, urges all adults to set a positive example in regards to alcohol use. And, offers these suggestions to parents and guardians to help prevent underage alcohol use and abuse.
- Communicate. Talk to your children about the dangers of alcohol use, stress that underage drinking is illegal, that you will not permit it under any circumstances and encourage them to ask questions. Be clear about what your expectations are regarding their behavior and make the subject an open discussion. The topic deserves more than a one-time conversation.
- Listen. It is important to understand your child’s thoughts and feelings about alcohol to gain insight into potential behaviors.
- Empathize. The pre-teen and teenage years can be a very difficult time of adjustment for many children. Let them know you understand the challenges they are facing and help them develop strategies to say no to alcohol in high-pressure situations.
- Be consistent. Once you establish rules surrounding alcohol use, be sure to follow through on set consequences if those rules are broken. Consistency is key.
The mission of the DART Coalition is to engage Ocean County residents in the process of reducing substance abuse within the County. The Coalition, which develops environmental strategies to achieve its goal, is comprised of more than 80 Ocean County community leaders including law enforcement and government officials, educators, business owners, substance abuse professionals, clergy, students and other youth.
Funding is provided by the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services through the Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant (SPF-SIG).
For more information about the DART Coalition or Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention, please visit www.instituteforprevention.com
Date: April 3, 2012
Contact – Public Relations
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