Hey Parents! Wanna Support Your Athlete?
You cheer at their games. You encourage them to train. You join the booster club. But what are you doing to support your athlete in making smart choices about alcohol and other drugs?
As your teen begins to gain self-confidence and follow his or her own agenda, your job as a parent gets more challenging. Teens can be prone to unpredictable and sometimes risky behavior – including experimentation with drugs. And athletes are one of the highest risk groups.
Studies which track attitudes toward drugs reveal that one of the most critical influences on kids’ decisions about taking drugs is the input of parents. In fact, kids who say they learn a lot about the risks of drugs at home are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs.
Parents should learn about the negative impact of alcohol and other drugs on athletic performance by completing OKLOA’s on line course
One of the first things you should do as a parent is be informed. Although our Oklahoma Life of An Athlete program is designed, primarily, for use by young athletes, we urge parents and coaches to complete the program as well so they can reinforce what their athletes are learning. This includes:
• One night of drinking can wipe out two weeks of training.
• Alcohol suppresses training hormones for up to four days. You may show up to practice, but no improvement comes, because the hormones you need to gain training results and conditioning are not there.
• Athletes need to be fast on their feet and quick to react, but alcohol impairs reaction time for up to 12 hours after consumption. Head to practice after a night of drinking and it will show in your performance.
• Before a high school athlete even steps foot onto the field, court, or track,, overall performance potential is lowered by 15-30% after recent heavy drinking. Your potential of achieving personal “best” just decreased.
Remember when you are partying, that somewhere, someone is training…and when you meet them, they will beat you.
e American Athletic Institute
DOs and DON’Ts for Parents of Athletes
There are many steps you can take to help your athlete make smart decisions about alcohol and other drugs.
Here are some “DOs”
• DO Keep the lines of communication open. Listen more than you talk
• DO Communicate clearly that you do not want your teen using drugs.
• DO Set clear limits and consistently enforce them.
• DO Encourage your teen to spend time with positive role models, including friends, family members or other influential adults. Who your athlete hangs with is one of the main factors in whether your athlete will drink or use drugs.
Here’s a big “DO NOT”
• DO NOT enable substance abuse by your athletes by providing alcohol (or other drugs). Sometimes parents think “My kid is going to drink anyway so I’ll provide a “safe place” to drink at home.” Don’t do it. Listen to this advice from Aspen Education Group:
We’ve all heard the rationale that some parents use for allowing their teens to drink alcohol:
• “I’m teaching my child to drink responsibly.”
• “If my child is old enough to serve in the military, he should be able to drink alcohol.”
• “I drank alcohol when I was a teen and I don’t have an alcohol problem now.”
Even so, the reasons for not allowing your child to drink — under any circumstances, until she is 21 — are more powerful than any rationale for allowing your teen to consume alcoholic beverages. Here’s why:
It’s against the law.
The legal age limit to drink in Oklahoma is 21. If you provide your teens with alcohol, even in your own home, you are violating the law.
A new law in Oklahoma called “Cody’s Law” provides strong penalties for “social hosts” who knowingly allow underage drinking in their homes. This law is named after Cody Greenhaw, a Tulsa teenager who died from a drug and alcohol overdose. The social host law provides a misdemeanor and fine of up to $500 for the first violation and a fine of up to $1,000 for a second. Further violations can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of $2,500.If a violation of Cody’s Law results in bodily injury or death, a social host will face a fine of between $2,500 and $5,000 and up to five years in jail.
Providing alcohol to your teen at home implies that drinking is important and that everyone drinks.
If you want to teach your children about alcohol, teach them that it’s not necessary to drink in order to have fun — and model this for them. It’s more important to practice NOT drinking than learning how to drink, because only a small part of adult life should be spent drinking.
Adolescent brains are damaged by the effects of alcohol.
Your teenager’s brain is still changing and growing. Long term or heavy drinking can cause both short term and long term and irreversible effects on your child’s brain. Those teens that regularly binge on alcohol have more problems with vocabulary, memory, memory retrieval, and learning. They also have an increased risk of social problems such as unprotected sex, depression, and violence, and a greater risk of problem drinking in adulthood.
The lesson for wise parents is that allowing your athlete to drink alcohol in any circumstance is enabling something that is unhealthy, dangerous, and against the law. Keep your athletes safe by adopting a “no use” policy — and help them stick with it.
Family Dinners Reduce Teen Drug Use
Survey Shows Teens Who Don’t Eat Dinner With Families Are More Likely to Abuse Drugs
By Bill Hendrick – WebMD Health News
A report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) says that, compared to teens who eat dinner with their families five to seven times per week, those who don’t are twice as likely to have used tobacco, nearly twice as likely to have used alcohol, and 1.5 times likelier to have used marijuana.
The CASA report also says that:
• 72% of teens think eating dinner with their parents on a regular basis is very or fairly important.
• Teens who have fewer than three family dinners per week are twice as likely to say they can obtain in an hour or less marijuana or prescription drugs they would use to get high, compared to peers eating five to seven family dinners weekly.
A Message for Parents
The report says 60% of teens who say they eat dinners with their families at least five times a week are less likely to say they have friends who use alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, or drugs that are prescribed for other people.
“The message for parents couldn’t be any clearer,” says Kathleen Ferrigno, CASA’s director of marketing. “With the recent rise in the number of Americans age 12 and older who are using drugs, it is more important than ever to sit down to dinner and engage your children in conversation about their lives, their friends, school – just talk.”
Knowledge Is Power for Parents
Ferrigno says there is no guarantee that any measures that parents take will keep kids drug free, but “knowledge is power and the more you know, the better the odds are that you will raise a healthy kid.”
For more information and advice on helping your child deal with alcohol and other drugs, go to www.partnershipatdrugfree.org
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