As an educator, talking with your students about the dangers of underage drinking can have an impactful influence on the choices they make. Starting the conversation in class will also allow students to talk with each other about how they feel about drinking. It might surprise them how many of their peers don’t drink and don’t want to if given the option. By providing facts and resources, you are empowering your students to stand up for themselves against the pressures of underage drinking.
It’s a fact that underage drinking is dangerous to children. Their brains are still developing; they are navigating emotionally through a challenging time in their lives, and their judgement isn’t always sound; they can have false cues from society about the safety of alcohol. Provided here are facts and statistics to share with your students. It will inform them on how alcohol affects the different functions of the brain. It will give them statistics on how drinking at a young age increases their chances of having problems as an adult. Discussing these things in class will open up the conversation for them to have with their peers where they can share their feelings on alcohol. See the facts on this website.
If a student comes to class smelling of alcohol or showing other signs of being intoxicated, inform your principal. There are resources in your school, guidance counselors and administrators, who can get the family involved and help your student deal with their alcohol problem. Ask the student how they’re doing. Listen to them. You can support them by being present and showing that you care. The school’s guidance counselors are trained to deal with these situations and are your best resource for help.
If a student comes to you about a drinking problem occurring in their home, listen to them and show them that you care. They are showing trust in you, and in return you can provide a place for them to feel safe. Remind them that it’s not their fault. Having a parent with a drinking problem can be really tough. Let them know they are not alone. Many kids are going through the same difficult situation. Alateen is a program for teenage relatives and friends of alcoholics and can be a useful resource for your student. Their website has information and locations of meetings they may want to attend. Encourage them to talk to their guidance counselor as well.