have to take time off from work and could lose pay, face fines, and incur other costs. Kids rarely consider all the legal or financial consequences. Discussing the implications of an arrest can help deter underage drinking. Reason 2: Drinking can make you sick, pass out, or die. Drinking too much alcohol can make people vomit. This is actually a sign of alcohol that can have fatal effects if not treated immediately. Remind your child that alcohol sickness can happen suddenly and with little warning. Reason 3: Drinking can lead to assault. Kids who are drinking are more vulnerable to dangerous situations and often can’t escape the threat of rape or assault. Your child probably trusts the people around him or her, and you may trust them too, but alcohol can turn situations dangerous. Sixty-five percent of sexual assault victims say they knew their attacker. Research clearly shows that the younger a person starts drinking, the greater the chance they will develop alcohol problems later in life. Reason 4: Drinking can lead to an early death Heavy drinking can damage the liver, kidneys, brain, and heart, all with serious long-term consequences.

CAUTION: Terrifying your teen could backfire

However, even one night of heavy drinking can have life- changing results, including unprotected sex (which may lead to pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease, such as HIV), death from alcohol poisoning or choking on vomit, or fatal car crashes. Reason 5: Drinking might lead to being an alcoholic. Most kids have negative images of alcoholics, and most do not want to become alcoholics. Yet they believe they can control their drinking and will not become alcoholics. Be truthful with your child about risks, but avoid overly harsh scare tactics. Too much scary information can make people “turn off” and not pay as much attention. Plus, if you paint a horrific picture of the consequences and your child doesn’t see them happen immediately when someone they know drinks, they will assume you were wrong or exaggerating. Be realistic with the risks you discuss with your pre-teen.


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