A recent Canadian survey identified alcohol as the drug most widely used by Canadian teens between grades seven and nine. This suggests that you may want to start conversations about alcohol prior to your child entering junior high school. Grades four to six are a critical time for students as they figure out who they are and what is important to them. You do not need to talk directly about alcohol to start teaching and preparing students for choices they may need to make in the future. Resiliency and the ability to make positive health choices starts with connections to supportive adults, guidance by positive role models and positive peer connection.
Chances are you provide these opportunities already but here are a few tips to consider:
- Provide time to talk about how to be a positive friend. Peer influence plays an important role when kids are faced with choices about alcohol later in life.
- Give your child a chance to be a mentor to younger students; it builds self-esteem.
- Encourage involvement in healthy extracurricular activities that your child is passionate about.
Create an environment for communicating easily with your children by:
- Spending time with them, both at home and while taking part in activities outside the home.
- Choosing the right time to talk to your child and trying to be available when they want to talk to you.
- Knowing your children – their activities and interests – and getting to know who their friends are.
- Speaking calmly and being prepared for resistance when emotional or difficult topics come up.
- Not being resistant or emotional yourself.
For more information about talking to your child, building self-esteem, enhancing resilience, and other topics for parents please visit www.albertahealthservices.ca/2434.asp.
Source Alberta Health Services