Create a safe environment for children and encourage healthy behaviors
Roseville, Calif.- The winter holidays are a time to enjoy the company of family, friends and co-workers. Some of the most memorable times for children growing up are the holidays spent with family.
It’s amazing how much kids value and remember family traditions. Unlike anything else, they’re a source of fun, they strengthen family bonds and they form a meaningful link to the past. Whether you’re baking cookies, watching a favorite holiday movie, playing board games, going for a walk or hike, going to a holiday concert or fair, or piling into the car to look at neighborhood lights, don’t underestimate the value of time spent together, enjoying each other’s company.
When alcohol is a part of holiday celebrations remember to create a safe environment for children and encourage healthy behaviors. The widespread availability of alcohol at holiday parties may be tempting for teens who want to experiment or convince a relative to let them enjoy “just one” alcoholic beverage. Some adults may be inclined to let teenagers have an alcoholic drink to share in a family toast or otherwise share in “the holiday spirits.”
On an average December day, more than 11,000 young people, aged 12 to 17, will use alcohol for the first time. Research and statistics show that there are definite risks involved in allowing underage drinking:
- According to the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, even a tiny sip can have a big impact. Children who had only sipped alcohol by sixth grade were nearly five times more likely to have a full drink by the time they were in high school.
- The younger a child is when he/she starts to drink, the more likely he/she will have alcohol-related problems later in life.
- Alcohol use by teens affects still-developing brains and impairs memory and learning.
- Teens who drink are more likely to commit or be the victim of violence (including sexual assault) and to experience stress, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
- Alcohol-related traffic crashes are a major cause of death among young people.
We also want to remind adults that in Placer County four cities have adopted Social Host Ordinances that hold adults accountable through a civil fine of up to $1,000 for allowing underage drinking, marijuana or other drug use at parties or gatherings.
It’s important to talk with your teen about underage drinking. Before hosting a celebration or arriving at a party, have a discussion about drinking related risks and keep the dialogue open. Listen to what they have to say and be prepared with responses that don’t judge. Be sure they understand your expectation is that they don’t drink and it’s because you care so much and don’t want anything bad to happen. Parents are the number one reason teens say they choose NOT to drink or use drugs.
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