As parents, there are some lessons we teach our kids just once, like tying shoes or how to ride a bike. But for other lessons to be effective, like how to stay clear of drugs and alcohol, kids need constant guidance.
Audra Lowe: As parents, there are some lessons we teach our kids just once like tying shoes or how to ride a bike, but for other lessons really to be effective like how to stay clear of drugs and alcohol, kids really need that constant guidance. So Tony has more on this topic in today's Better Parenting. Tony Martinez: Parenthood is full of so many challenges but one of the biggest has got to be guiding our kids through the world of temptation and peer pressure that can lead to substance abuse. Fortunately, it's not something we need to do alone. Today, we're talking to Emily Moser; she's an expert in the field of parenting for prevention. Emily Moser: What we know about young drinkers is that you are four times more likely to have a problem with addiction over the course of your lifetime. Tony Martinez: Parents, that should sound an alarm. Emily Moser: When you start drinking before the age of 15, your chances of having a life-long problem go way, way up. Tony Martinez: Preventing that outcome involves early intervention and understanding why some kids begin to drink in the first place. Adolescents face physical and emotional changes that can be difficult to understand and are well into the life-long journey of trying to sort out who they are and how they fit in. Emily Moser: All of that creates sort of this level of stress that as adults we may not perceive as stressful at all. Tony Martinez: In the absence of healthier choices, some kids turn to drugs and alcohol for relief. In some cases, it's a choice that's far too easy to make. Emily Moser: We know that alcohol industry glamorizes alcohol use even if you are not getting drunk, just that whole partying atmosphere, underage drinking is the generally accepted norm. Tony Martinez: But the good news is that there is a stronger and louder voice in the lives of children, the voice of their parents. Emily Moser: Parents have the number one influence on their children. We just don't believe that and they, especially our adolescent teens, they won't tell us that. Tony Martinez: And that's where the hope lies. Parents need to know their kids. When you're really looking for changes in behavior, you have to know what that initial behavior is to begin with. Tony Martinez: And it all starts with the basics. Emily Moser: I always say talk to your kids, that really means talk with your kids. It means you have to listen, there has to be two-way communication. Talk with them around what their issues are, not necessarily yours, and start from that standpoint. Tony Martinez: It all seems deceptively simple but sometimes the best ideas about parenting are - Emily Moser: Having those family dinners by finding those moments where you can just start bonding with your kid and sort of build yourself a bank account of trust. Tony Martinez: A couple of things to keep in mind. First off, parents are the biggest influence on their kids. That's good news. Second, you won't recognize unusual behaviors of your child unless you know what normal is. So know your kid. And third, it's never too late to start this conversation. In fact, you can start it today. I'm Tony Martinez. Thanks for watching. Audra Lowe: Well, almost half of all kids who start drinking before the age of 14 become dependent on alcohol as adults. If you like more information on this topic, you can head to Bettertv.com and follow the link for parenting for prevention.