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Even more frightening, more than nearly one in ten 8th graders (7.7%), one in 5 10th graders (19.8%) and one in three 12th graders (32.5%) had engaged in binge drinking. This is defined as having had five or more alcoholic drinks in a row during the past two weeks.
Binge drinking begins as early as sixth grade, and new evidence shows that underage drinking can cause permanent damage to a teen's rapidly developing brain. As a result, the need for parental involvement has never been greater.
The most effective techniques are also simple. You can set clear rules about no underage drinking, know your children's friends, where they are and who they are with and ensure that their environments are alcohol-free. It also helps to have positive interactions with your children - every day.
The Parent Power Montana web site is designed to give you tools you need to curb underage drinking, binge drinking, and drinking and driving in Montana.
The Chance That Children Will Use Alcohol Increases as They Get Older.
About 10 percent of 12-year-olds say they've tried alcohol, but by age 15, that number jumps to 50 percent. The sooner you talk to your children about alcohol, the greater chance you have of influencing their decisions about drinking.
Parents Play a Critical Role in Children's Decisions to Experiment With Alcohol.
Studies have shown that parents have a significant influence on young people's decisions about alcohol consumption, especially when parents create supportive and nurturing environments in which their children can make their own decisions. In fact, more than 80 percent of children say parents are the leading influence in their decision to drink or not.
The Conversation Is Often More Effective Before Children Start Drinking.
If you talk to your kids directly and honestly, they are more likely to respect your rules and advice about alcohol use. When parents know about underage alcohol use, they can protect their children from many of the high-risk behaviors associated with it.
Some Children May Try Alcohol as Early as 9 Years Old.
Most 6-year-olds know that alcohol is only for adults. Between the ages of 9 and 13, children start to view alcohol more positively. Many children begin to think underage drinking is OK. Some even start to experiment. It is never too early to talk to your children about alcohol.
If You Don't Talk About It, You're Still Saying Something.
What you say to your child about alcohol is up to you. But remember, parents who do not discourage underage drinking may have an indirect influence on their children's alcohol use.