Billboard Message September 2010
Underage drinking – not a “minor” problem:Underage drinking is a community issue and to make a lasting difference all citizens, parents, youth, governmental agencies, public and private institutions, businesses and workplaces, hospitals, schools, churches, and civic organizations are called upon to step forward and do their part.
This is not just a law enforcement or just a school or just a family problem. The drinking of alcohol is promoted throughout our society through media (tv – computers), advertising, peer expectations (perceived and real), and primarily by youth observing adult drinking behaviors as well as adult reactions to drinking situations.
The vitality and protection of our youth rests primarily in the actions of adults. Adults are the ones who set the standards, who allow behaviors to go unchecked, who have the opportunity to talk clearly with their teens and younger children.
Further, one of the most effective prevention results occur when youth understand their parents do not approve of underage drinking.
Another strong prevention action is for parents to communicate to their children; high expectations of behavior, that their children have a significant role in the family life, and the message of love and respect are clearly present. (From books by Stephen Glenn.)
Finally, it is important to recognize that youth cannot drink alcohol unless adults supply it. Talk to your friends about the situations in our communities that influence young people to drink alcohol. Be sure to share your views about the importance of adults setting the standards around prevention of underage drinking. Of course, these standards apply to the youth, but also to other adults who may consider supplying alcohol for youth.
It’s time to talk – this is what young people are saying when they talk about the problems they and/or their friends face around alcohol as well as other drugs. “Talk with our parents, teachers, someone who will listen,” was a comment one youth made in a discussion about problems with which their friends are facing.
It’s time to talk to your children, grandchildren, friends, relatives – let them hear your message loud and clear. By your actions, let them see: You are going to be part of the solution. Underage drinking is not a “minor” problem.
For more info, please contact the MCPUD offices.