Conversation Starters To Help Lower Your Child’s Alcohol-Related Risks
Below are a few conversation starters to help lower your child's alcohol-related risks as well as a personal story from Dr. David DeWeese.
With Summer Break approaching, now is a great time to discuss alcohol with your young adult. Despite a national drinking age of 21, the majority of adolescents have at least tried alcohol. Teenagers are more likely than older drinkers to binge drink (more than 5 drinks in 2 hours for men, or 4 drinks in 2 hours for women), which has specific health risks that are different from other drinking patterns.
I've never forgotten one of my first patients I had in medical school, a young man who tragically highlighted the possible risks of binge drinking. He and his friends had been partying late one night, drinking heavily. Under alcohol's influence, he decided to dive headfirst into a nearby swimming pool - which was empty. Since his friends were similarly altered, no one even realized he was missing for several hours, at which point they left him alone at a nearby emergency department. The resulting spinal cord injury in his neck meant that he couldn't move his arms or legs.
Having a conversation with your child can help lower their alcohol-related risks, because teens do take your advice seriously - even if they don't always entirely follow it. Tell them not to drink alcohol, and definitely not to binge drink if they do. They should not drive if they have had any alcohol, and they should not ride in a car driven by anyone who has been drinking. Making clear to your teenager that you will be a ride home for them if needed can help keep them safe. Strongly recommend not combining alcohol and water activities, as this significantly increases drowning risk.
Here are a few conversation starters to help lower your child’s alcohol-related risks: