“My parents always let me drink at home”. “It was just one drink.” “They just wanted me to go and buy them some booze.” There is always an excuse quickly following any accusations around underage drinking. This is a serious problem that needs to be faced.
The consequences of under-age consumption could lead to long term problems such as alcoholism or other health issues. The solution starts with family and friends, who need to face the cold hard facts about not ignoring underage drinking.
18+ Be the Mentor is an SAB initiative that encourages young adults, family and friends to help teens make positive life choices, including staying away from alcohol and other toxic situations.
We automatically assume that the youth are educated about the effects of underage drinking and that they will drink responsibly or not at all. But this is rarely the case. Teens are often subjected to peer pressure, alcohol at parties and other festive gatherings which makes it that much easier for them to consume it. This is the time when they need a mentor to play their part and remind them that nothing good will come from not behaving responsibly.
With public holidays and long weekends on the way, keep in mind that teens have a greater chance of getting access to alcohol. Step in and prevent a situation that could end badly.
“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.
YOLO – SO DON’T BE A DODO
We often live for the moment and don’t think about the long-term consequences with most things in our lives, not just with drinking. “Everything in moderation” is something we hear all too often and it could not be any truer. Adults too, tend to over step the mark when it comes to alcohol at festive or family gatherings, which often leads to bad decisions that have the potential to destroy lives.
The following are some facts submitted by the National Association for Children of Alcoholics:
Alcoholism and other addiction tend to run in families. Children of addicted parents are the highest risk group of those becoming alcohol abusers due to both genetic and family environment factors.
Recent studies suggest a strong genetic component, particularly for early onset of alcoholism in males. Sons of alcoholic fathers are at fourfold risk compared with those of non-alcoholic fathers.
Some try to be a friend rather than a parent to their child, buying liquor for their underage child and drinking with them “so that they can be exposed and experiment at home” – and not get intoxicated at their friends’ homes where you as a parent have less control.
They have lack of information on the topic because the parent does not consider it as important or relevant enough.
Some parents have poor relationships and communication with their children.
Living in ignorance or denial contributes – because it will not happen to their child as they consider them to be good and hang out with the right crowd.
Make the choice to be part of the change today. Treat yourself with respect and care and let your mentee or future mentee see that life doesn’t have to revolve around drinking and other bad habits. But that their life can be filled with hope and opportunities to help them reach their full potential.
BE A PART OF THE CHANGE
SAB believes everyone can be part of the change. The 18+ Be the Mentor initiative is about starting a movement which calls on everyone over the age of 18 in South Africa to take that first step and become a mentor and ‘Be Part of the Change’.
South Africans can be part of the campaign and make a difference to someone else’s life by pledging to be a mentor at www.bethementor.sab.co.za.