YOUR CHILD’S WORLD As children enter middle school and then high school, their maturing bodies grow at different rates, leading to social awkwardness, they may face the dilemma of who to become friends with and how to fit in, they encounter more responsibilities and demands at school and around the house, and they may also face new moral dilemmas about risky behaviors and substance use. Their brain focuses on what’s happening right now, basing decisions on immediate emotions rather than what consequences may happen in the future as a result of their actions. When it comes to alcohol, kids may know some risks, but their experience can have more impact than facts. They may think, “My friend or parents drink and nothing bad has ever happened.” Do not assume facts or statistics will convince your child to avoid alcohol. It is important to have clear family rules about what to do if they are in a situation where alcohol becomes present. TALK SOON “Casey, my oldest son, was what you’d call a ‘good kid’ – on the honor roll every semester, in the marching band, in the choir; he wrestled and played football. I never really worried too much throughout high school. I had the false sense of security that he had the maturity of someone who could handle his liquor, but I was wrong. If I had it all to do over again? I would have made my message very clear. ” Comments from a mother whose son died from alcohol poisoning at the age of 18. Read the rest of Casey’s story at madd.org/powerofparents.
Your Child’s World
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