Power Talk 21 Urges Parents to Connect with Their Kids
Do you know if your teenaged son or daughter is drinking? Maybe it’s time to have a talk.
According to research by the Institute of Medicine of the National Research Council, one in six teens binge drinks while just one in 100 parents believes his or her teen in engaged in this dangerous behavior.
That gap of understanding is a key factor behind the creation of Power Talk 21, an initiative to encourage parents and their children to engage in conversations about alcohol and the dangers to which it can lead. Created by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Power Talk 21 establishes April 21 as a day for family discussions and an opportunity to reinforce to sons and daughters that the legal age to drink is 21 years of age.
“Research shows that kids develop perceptions about alcohol as early as second or third grade,” said Stephen Larson, Administrator of the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division. “As regulators, we believe that it’s never too early to have family conversations about the dangers of alcohol.”
And children in America are being exposed to these dangers earlier in life than many parents assume. Thirty percent of American eighth graders have tried alcohol. Nearly half of the nation’s tenth graders drink. In fact, teens who do get the message from their parents that underage drinking is unacceptable are five times more likely to drink than their peers who do get that talk.
Power Talk 21 is designed to open channels of communication between parents and teens. MADD stresses that, despite the eye rolls and ‘whatevers,’ teens actually do rely on their parents for guidance, information and leadership.
April is Alcohol Awareness Month and, with proms, graduation and other celebrations, is one of the most dangerous times of the year involving teens and alcohol. MADD encourages parents to sit down with their kids and let them know they care by talking about alcohol issues. For more information on Power Talk 21 and for access to a free, downloadable, handbook entitled Power of Parents,go to: www.madd.org/powerofparents.
About Iowa ABD
The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division serves Iowans through the responsible regulation and profitable distribution of alcohol while providing opportunities for industry development and promoting health through education. Visit the Iowa ABD online at IowaABD.com.