POSITIVE Positive parents focus on empowering their middle school child to grow and learn. They: Take an active role in teaching responsibility. Set clear expectations about behavior, such as waiting until age 21 before drinking alcohol. Explain reasons behind their expectations and encourage their son or daughter to talk about any concerns. Set and enforce consequences before agreements are not met. Positive parents know that their own age, knowledge, experience, and material resources give them more power than their child. Positive parents use that power to strengthen and protect their child and help them grow into effective individuals. Positive parenting can be difficult, because parents gradually give up control and allow kids more freedom and responsibility with each passing year. These parents respect a child’s drive for independence, yet maintain legitimate limits. They build trust and teach skills that empower kids to take increasing control of their lives. Instead of enforcing severe punishment for bad behavior only after the fact, positive parents discuss and set clear consequences for breaking rules before any instances, then enforce them if need be. They encourage their son and daughter to talk about problems and to build problem- solving skills.
Positive parenting is generally the most effective parenting style. Research shows: when a child of positive style parents does drink illegally, they tend to consume significantly less alcohol than a child of other parenting styles. Parents Do Make a Difference Despite how you may feel sometimes, research shows that parents are an important influence on whether or not their son or daughter chooses to drink alcohol. Kids do care about their parents’ opinions. They tend to respond well to a positive parenting style. In contrast, many studies show that authoritarian, overprotective, and permissive parenting can lead to negative outcomes. The strategies recommended in this handbook are compatible with the positive parenting style.
For more information on how parenting styles can influence teen or kids drinking, visit MADD at madd.org/ powerofparents.
The Bottom Line Positive parenting strategies can help empower a middle school student to avoid underage drinking.
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