New Campaign to Help Parents Talk about Alcohol

The Alcohol Talk, sponsored by Pernod Ricard USA, helps parents talk to their teens about drinking. The campaign includes text and video content available at www.thealcoholtalk.com. From the press release:

 

NEW YORK, May 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The Alcohol Talk, a new public education campaign to help parents talk with their teens about drinking, was unveiled today by sponsor Pernod Ricard USA, the New York-based unit of the global spirits and wine marketer. The campaign emphasizes the timing, language and opportunities parents can use to have this conversation with confidence and credibility, based on input from experts, parents and teens themselves.

According to campaign spokesperson and contributor Dr. Jennifer Powell-Lunder, a clinical psychologist specializing in adolescent behavior, most parents understand the importance of having The Alcohol Talk and have access to information on what to say, but think their teen won’t listen to them. “Almost three-quarters of teens say they value their parents’ input on drinking. As such, our materials provide actionable direction on how parents can have this essential talk, including how to keep the dialog going from pre-teen years through high school.”

The campaign features user-friendly text and video content online at www.TheAlcoholTalk.com. It was developed from more than 40 hours of focus group conversations with a range of experts, parents and teens. The conversations were analyzed by a linguist and then organized into a series of dialog clusters and scenarios to provide real-world tips on how to talk about this challenging subject.

The major sections of TheAlcoholTalk.com include: Why Have the Talk, How & When to Start the Talk, Who to Involve in the Talk, Helpful Language to Use and How to Keep Them Talking. Each section contains text overviews, key statistics, tips on how to talk about each topic, and videos of teens and parents commenting on their experiences with The Alcohol Talk.

Throughout the site content, experts, parents and teens agree on the following, key points:

   1. Start the conversation early ... as early as fifth grade years or younger 
 
   2. Engage teens in the conversation ... ask how they would deal with various 
      situations involving alcohol, don't just lecture 
 
   3. Talk often ... The Alcohol Talk isn't one conversation, it is an on-going 
      dialog that encompasses what teens see on TV, online and in movies as 
      much as what happens in their lives 
 
   4. Parents' input counts ... teens value their parents' opinions and 
      experiences, which have a major impact on decisions about drinking 
 
   5. Be a parent, not a pal ... teens need to know underage drinking is 
      dangerous and illegal, and they need to know the consequences of making 
      bad decisions.

All of the online content is designed for easy sharing among parents via social media, especially the videos discussing what does and doesn’t work — and why. The site also links to the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (FAAR), a distilled-spirits industry funded, national not for profit organization that is a leader in the fight against drunk driving and underage drinking. FAAR’s website and programs contain a wealth of supplemental information and statistics useful to parents.

To supplement its focus group research, Pernod Ricard USA commissioned a national, online poll of 150 parents of teens and 150 teens, asking similar questions about underage drinking to see how the points of view of the two groups compare. Among the results, perhaps most surprising to parents is that although 70 percent of teens said they value their parents’ input on drinking, almost half of these teens said they think their parents will just lecture them and stipulate rules and punishments, rather than have a genuine discussion. This finding underscores the importance of parents learning how to talk, not just what to say, according to Dr. Powell-Lunder.

Other key findings from the online poll include:

   -- Most parents start the conversation about alcohol with their children 
      starting in sixth grade, but almost two-thirds of teens say they became 
      aware of alcohol before fifth grade 
 
   -- 58% of teens report that conversations with parents about drinking have 
      an impact on their decisions about drinking, but only half of all parents 
      think their teens want to discuss the topic with them. 
 
   -- When asked why teens shouldn't drink, only 12% of parents said it was 
      illegal.  Most parents cite drunk driving (57%) and personal safety (22%) 
      issues as more important. 
 
   -- In contrast, 30% of teens said underage drinking is illegal, while 34% 
      cited the potential for personal harm, and 22% cited potential for 
      impairing health.

New content will be added to www.TheAlcoholTalk.com on a when-available basis, including such features as webinars with experts, a monitored forum board for parents to share experiences, new video of teens and parents discussing drinking, and polls on additional underage drinking issues.

“Our research underscores the disparity in how underage drinking is viewed by parents and teens and the need for parents to learn how to talk about it, not just what to say,” concludes Dr. Powell-Lunder. “At the end of the day, both parents and teens agree underage drinking is the social issue facing teens that needs the most discussion. The Alcohol Talk campaign can help parents frame that conversation to help make it more relevant, meaningful and successful.”

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