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Social Hosting Law Awareness:
It is important to remain a good parent and a good citizen. When it comes to the safety of our children and neighbors, it is important to understand all the laws and ordinances revolving around the legality of allowing minors to consume alcohol. Social hosting can cost you large amounts of money and possible jail time. Please, familiarize yourself around this law.
Remember, this is a City of Elgin ordinance. Your home town may have different laws and penalties.
Knowing when and how to start conversations with your children is crucial to their well being! Here are some tips that will help aid in this area. Always keep in mind that time spent with our youth is time well spent! Sometimes our work or social life tends to keep us from being there for our youth. This is unintentional on both sides but it must be recognized to make complete changes moving forward that will assist us all in making better choices and being better role models for our youth. Let’s begin the conversation and start making changes TODAY!
How to Talk to Your Children about Drug Use:
Talk early and talk often
The earlier you bring up the topic the better chance you have of being your child’s first resource about not using alcohol and other drugs. You can’t control what they hear from other kids, on social media, or from TV and movies. Starting the conversation early and often makes it more normal and less awkward for your child to come to you when they have questions about drugs and alcohol.
Be comfortable and positive
Sometimes it’s easier to talk about uncomfortable topics when you’re doing everyday things such as driving to practice, grocery shopping, or packing lunch for school tomorrow. Stay positive. Rather than lecture your child, have an open, positive discussion about drugs and their consequences.
Express your expectations
Your children want to hear your honest opinion about whether or not you think it is okay for them to use alcohol or other drugs, but they also want you to be accepting of their opinions. It is important to express yourself, but remember that your children’s beliefs will eventually become their actions, so it’s important to hear them out.
Expect your child to ask how you know
There is no perfect answer to this question. Most youth ask this question to judge whether or not they should trust your advice. You do not owe your children an explanation or apology for using drugs or alcohol in the past. We typically recommend responding to that question with, “Everyone’s different, and whether or not I used alcohol or other drugs does not mean you will do the same. I love you, and I want you to make decisions based on what is best for you.”
Tips on talking with your children
Tips for children ages 7-12:
- Encourage healthy celebrations at any age rather than focus on having to wait until they are 21 and can drink alcohol to celebrate.
- If your child asks you a question about drugs that you don’t know the answer to, be honest with them. Making up an answer just to seem informed may damage your child’s trust in you.
- Help your student create goals for his or her future.
- Help them practice how they would say “no” if someone offered them drugs or alcohol
- Support their overall mental and emotional well-being. Help your child find a professional counselor or therapist if they are struggling to cope with adolescent challenges.
Tips for youth ages 13-15:
The average age a youth tries alcohol or marijuana for the first time is between 14-15 years old
- Support their school work and activities they participate in. Not feeling successful at school, their favorite sport or hobby can lead to stress and insecurity, and youth this age sometimes turn to drugs to cope.
- Pay attention to your own actions when you drink alcohol or use drugs in your children’s presence.
- Get to know your child’s friends and their parents. Unless a certain friend is a safety issue, let your child choose their own friends and learn from mistakes.
- Don’t be afraid to get help from a family therapist or counselor if there are family stressors that may increase the chances your child uses drugs or alcohol.
- Help them practice how they would say “no” if someone offered them drugs or alcohol.
Tips for youth ages 16-20:
- Support their school work. If you can’t help them with their homework or study for a test, let them know you are willing to help them find someone who can.
- Focus on helping them understand their own emotions and how to deal with feelings in a healthy way. During this stage of life, they are starting to make connections about how thoughts turn into behaviors.
- Encourage participating in sports, art, music, afterschool clubs or other interests that will keep them busy and provide an outlet for stress and negative feelings.
The Eyes Don’t Lie
Be watchful of the eyes of the person you’re speaking with. If you believe that the person is intoxicated, the eyes are always the BEST way to tell what they might be under the influence of. See the chart directly to the right to see the different characteristics of a drug user’s eyes.
~Resource information: Bruce R Talbot Associates, inc.
~Modification by: Rachel Obafemi – Gateway Foundation