With the new school year upon us, and underage drinking being a significant, but often overlooked, problem in the United States, many States have begun focusing on the effects of underage drinking. North Carolina for instance has launched a new set of “in your face” commercials warning parents and kids about the devastating consequences of underage drinking.

These new ads are part of the North Carolina “Talk it Out” campaign. The goal of these ads is to grab parents’ attention and urge them to talk about the dangers of drinking. A study suggests 8 out of 10 middle school age kids have had their first exposure to alcohol outside the home while still in elementary school. For many of them, it’s not uncommon to hear about incidents involving alcohol with their friends.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) says it’s time to start getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, and start talking to our kids about the dangers of alcohol, especially the kind that have deadly consequences.

Here are a few tips from SAMHSA and the N.C. “Talk it Out Campaign” to get that conversation started.

  1. Start early, before you think your children will be exposed to alcohol. Don’t wait until they’re in high school.
  2. Explain the consequences of underage drinking, and ask questions to make sure your child understands. Have facts at hand about drunk driving accidents, sexual assaults, addiction risk and legal trouble.
  3. Explain that alcohol is dangerous for the developing brain.
  4. Show that you disapprove of underage drinking, and emphasize that having alcohol before age 21 is illegal.
  5. Show your love and concern for your child’s health and well-being.
  6. Show that you’re paying attention to your child’s activities, so that you’ll pick up on alcohol use.
  7. Build your child’s skills and strategies for avoiding underage drinking – beyond “Just say no.”
  8. Make clear that you will reward responsible behavior if, for example, your child calls you for a ride or leaves a party where alcohol is present.
  9. Use real-life examples. Discuss news stories about tragedies involving underage drinking.
  10. Keep the conversation going. Once is not enough; the message should be frequently reinforced.

Disclaimer: The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem. Corporate offices for Nave DWI Defense Attorneys are located at 432 N. Franklin Street, Suite 80, Syracuse, NY 13204; Telephone No.: 1-866-792-7800. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorney Advertising.