BE THE INFLUENCE is based on several important bodies of research.
DELAY, DELAY, DELAY! The research tells us that the longer kids delay using alcohol and other drugs the better off they will be later in life, i.e., the earlier kids start, the more likely they will have substance abuse and other problems as adults. Accordingly, our program is designed for parents to do what they can to delay substance use by their children for as long as possible. With each year of delay, the chances of addiction decrease. While we can't completely control our teens, we can control what we do as adults. See www.niaaa.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/age-drinking-onset-predicts-future-alcohol-abuse-and-dependence
PARENTAL INFLUENCE. Studies also show that parents are
their teens' number one influence in their lives — as much as
they would like us to think otherwise. Accordingly, now is not
the time to "check out", but to "lean in" and be an engaged
parent with clear rules — and consequences — relating to
underage substance use. Protective factors against teen
substance use are bonding, boundaries and monitoring. An excellent discussion on parenting styles and guidance is at pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/adolescentflyer/adolFlyer.pdf
ALLOWING HOME USE. The research further tells us that kids whose parents allow them to drink in their homes are more likely to drink elsewhere, to drink more - and to drunk drive. Many parents cling to the notion that allowing kids to drink or use marijuana at home "keeps them safe" or "teaches them how to drink responsibly". While this may do so in the short term, it is counterproductive in the long term. There is no evidence that allowing teens to drink under adult supervision teaches them to drink responsibly. See 2014 NIH paper examining 22 studies on the issue at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4108600/. The same applies to marijuana and other drugs.
PARENTAL MODELING. Finally, because parents are such an influence on their teens, it is important that parents model the behavior they want to see in their children. The more a child sees his or her parents"noticeably intoxicated", the more likely that child is to engage in binge drinking. So remember — they are watching us and are eager to point out our hypocrisies!