PHYSICAL CHANGES Parents can reassure their son or daughter that body changes are natural and that within a few years, everyone will grow into their bodies. Kids who are satisfied with their bodies tend to have higher self-esteem. Self-esteem can help kids resist alcohol and other substances. Thinking The middle school child’s brain focuses on what’s happening right now. That’s why middle school kids make decisions based on immediate emotions. They care about “How I feel right now” and social concerns like “My friends will give me a hard time and I will be left out.” At this age, a child can have trouble understanding how actions today can lead to consequences in the future; this part of the brain literally has not yet developed. When It Comes to Alcohol and Marijuana Kids may hear that drinking is risky, but their own experience has greater impact on their choices. They may think, “My parents drink and nothing bad has ever happened.”
Use questions that start with how, what, and why . You might ask “ How would you handle an invitation to a party with alcohol? What would you say? Why do you think drinking is dangerous at your age?” Help them practice thinking through the pros and cons of different alternatives TIP Do not assume that facts or statistics will convince your child to avoid alcohol or marijuana Your role is to help them use information to start developing rational thinking skills. It is important to have clear family rules about what to do if they are at someone’s home, adults are not supervising, and alcohol becomes present. Results from many studies indicate kids drink more often and heavier when alcohol is made available to them. The best practice to the have your son or daughter understand that they are to leave or call a trusted adult for a ride if this happens.
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