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There is a high chance that teenagers have or will have an encounter with alcohol either through experimenting or through someone else's drinking. "As a parent it is your responsibility to keep them safe from underage drinking by teaching them that alcohol is for adult consumption only, and to equip them with the right tools and knowledge to say no to alcohol when they are away from your supervision," said Naazia Ismail, South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) project manager. Teens have less physical tolerance to the effects of alcohol, and their brains which are still developing are more susceptible to alcohol-related harm. The US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism stated in a 2010 publication that most studies show the benefits from allowing children to drink in the home or controlled environment are non-existent. According to Sadag, it is an adult's responsibility to keep communication open with teenagers in order for them to understand the consequences and dangers of underage drinking. The more open your relationship with your children is, the more likely they will feel comfortable with talking to you about any issues, including alcohol. Listen to them, don't judge and let them know they can come to you and trust you. Invest in recreational activities and in spending quality time with your children: Encourage your teens to take part in activities that develop interests and skills, like hobbies, school events, sports, healthy relationships, and volunteer work. Know the facts about alcohol. You can't expect your child to know the risks of alcohol misuse if you don't have all the information yourself. info Alcohol facts and figures People who begin drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to become alcohol dependent than those who have their first drink at age 20 or older. Teens that use alcohol are three times more likely to be involved in violent crime. 67% of teens who drink before the age of 15 will go on to use illegal drugs. In 56% of reported rape cases, the victims have been under the influence of alcohol. For more tips like these and to take the 18+ pledge against underage drinking, go to sabstories.co.za Give them some examples of how to say 'no' without losing face: "No thanks." "Not today, thanks." "I don't like the way it (beer, wine, cider) tastes." "I'll be grounded for life if my dad finds out I've been drinking." "My mom will not teach me how to drive if she finds out I have been drinking." "I need all my brain cells for rugby practice (math test, homework) tomorrow." If your child is offered alcohol, here are some examples of what he or she can do: Leave the scene Change the subject Laugh itoff Teach them to say no to adults: They should learn to say no to adults who send them to the tavern or the shop to buy alcohol; or adults who offer them a taste or sip of an alcoholic drink and promise not to tell.