The Power of Choice – Middle School Edition
April 2023, Issue 4
Keeping Your Child Safe
As parents, setting rules and expectations is a large part of keeping your child safe. You can act as a guide for your middle school student as they get older and gain more freedom. Being honest with your child about the origins and purpose for your family rules can help your child understand why these rules are in place, and can help encourage them to make their own healthy decisions. Children need to feel supported, but it’s also important to be clear that underage drinking is not permitted in your family. It can be an unpopular line to draw, yet it’s important to set expectations early so your child can know what to expect in the future. Keep in mind that your family rules are in place to help your child stay healthy and succeed in every possible way.
Talk about the Risks
It can be hard to imagine adulthood as a child or teenager, so as a parent, informing your child of the risks of underage drinking can help them understand how their actions now could affect their future. Teens may not realize that alcohol use is riskier for them. When adolescents drink, they can become energetic and then engage in more risky behavior. You can also remind them that teens with previous mental health concerns can see an increase in symptoms of anxiety and depression. Many teens prioritize mental health and will make choices to keep themselves feeling healthy, but could mistakenly turn to drinking as a form of stress relief if they don’t have all of the information. Let your child know it’s okay to ask for help if they are struggling.
Consider a Related Consequence and Need for Care
Inform your child that if they are drinking underage, it is likely that they will be caught. Let them know that you’re paying attention and always have their safety and best interest in mind. Stepping in at the first signs of underage drinking can help your child choose healthier behaviors before a larger problem develops. Enduring a related consequence at home or in school can help your child understand why they should make different choices in the future. While teens may not grasp the correlation between underage drinking and losing their video game priveleges, they may get the message if the consequence is related to the incident. A consequence doesn’t necessarily have to mean just a punishment, it’s also an opportunity to demonstrate care for your child. Consider talking with your child about why they decided to engage in this behavior, and take action depending on what they say. Having open conversations, doing research as a family, and/or attending counseling can all help your teen better understand themselves, learn the risks of underage drinking, and choose to make healthy decisions on their own.
Vaping Prevention at Your Child’s School
Check out the latest Power of Choice Middle School vaping campaign poster. Students will see these posted throughout their hallways and on television screens, reminding them that their health matters! Each material provides facts and information on the potentially harmful effects e-cigarettes can have on their growing bodies.
You can view the materials on our website here.
Connect with Power of Choice
Power of Choice Coordinator
Funded in part by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery through a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration.