Introduction When children reach the middle school years and early adolescence, they are entering a period of immense and rapid change. During this exciting period, parents face new challenges and rewards. Some of a child’s changes are physical and easy to see. Other changes, such as how the child thinks, feels, communicates, and interacts with peers, are less noticeable. We created this handbook to help parents talk to children ages 11-14 about alcohol. . During this phase, parents have a single goal: keeping their kids safe and healthy while helping them grow into independent, well-adjusted young adults. From research we know that many kids ages 11-14 or even earlier are being exposed to alcohol. Even if kids this age don’t drink or use marijuana, it’s the time in their lives when they are setting their expectations about

alcohol and marijuana. However, to parents alcohol may seem so common and familiar that they may forget or not consider how risky it is for young people in these early stages of development. However, the fact remains: alcohol is always a dangerous drug when in the hands of underage drinkers. Alcohol is responsible for more young peoples’ serious accidents and deaths than all other illegal drugs combined. Marijuana is increasingly becoming legal in the US and people are either assuming it must be safe or has health benefits. Many of the perceived health benefits have not been adequately tested by medical and health researchers. It is important for parents to be able to have meaningful conversations based on the research with their middle schoolers. These materials are designed to help parents.


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