Parents can prevent underage drinking

Yesterday, the Today Show hosted a discussion about parents letting their teenagers drink at home.  This is a common discussion among parents -- following is some information to add to the conversation.

European Drinking Myth
It is often stated that European families teach their children how to drink by allowing them to have wine with dinner.  I often hear people say that France and Italy don't have problems with youth binge drinking because of this type of parenting.  This is a myth!  European countries, including France and Italy, are having increasing problems with teen binge drinking. 

Most Teenagers Do Not Drink
During the Today Show, one of the guests stated that kids are going to drink, no matter what.  This is another myth.  Most teenagers do not drink.  In Washington State, 58% of high school seniors and 67% of high school sophomores do not drink, according to the Healthy Youth Survey.

Parents Can Prevent Underage Drinking
Parents are the #1 influence on adolescents and there are proven strategies parents can use to prevent their teenagers from drinking.

1. Talk to your children early about alcohol and your family's rules about underage drinking.  Set clear and specific guidelines.

2. Monitor your childrenKnow where they are going and with whom.  Network with other parents, especially the parents of your child's friends. 

3. Set consequences and follow through on them.