Texas Teens Bombarded with Pressure to Drink but What Parents Say Matters
New MADD Texas survey highlights disconnect between teens and parents on the issue of alcohol
AUSTIN, Texas, April 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — A new survey of Texas teens and parents underscored a significant disconnect in what parents believe their teens face in terms of pressure to drink alcohol versus the reality of what teens truly experience. However, teens widely reported that they do, in fact, listen to their parents’ messages about the dangers of underage drinking.
The survey, conducted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Texas, showed that 73 percent of teens claim the fact that most or all of their friends drink motivates them to drink, while 59 percent of Texas parents recognize this as a factor. Alarmingly, 55 percent of teens say that their peers drinking to get drunk also motivates them to drink, while only 27 percent of parents realize this is a motivator for their children.
More importantly, parents remain the single biggest influence on their teen’s decision to not drink. In fact, 62 percent of Texas teens say their parents are the motivating factor for them not to drink. Furthermore, studies show that the clearer the message from parents, the less likely a teen will drink.
“Texas teens face incredible pressure from many directions to drink,” said Jaime Gutierrez, MADD Texas State Office executive director. “Yet it appears that many parents may not be aware of this enormous pressure their teens combat. Nevertheless, parents remain the single most important influencer on their teen’s decisions not to drink.”
Interestingly, 62 percent of both parents and teens in Texas believe it is completely unacceptable to drink before the age of 21. A national survey conducted by MADD and Nationwide Insurance and released yesterday showed that teens who receive the message from their parents that it is completely unacceptable to drink are more than 80 percent less likely to drink than teens who receive other messages.
To highlight the impact parents can have on their teens, MADD is hosting a variety of awareness activities leading up to the fourth annual PowerTalk 21(®) day on April 21. The goal is to bring more attention to the need for parents to start talking with their children about alcohol and the consequences of underage drinking now. In an effort to underscore the importance of parents, MADD is hosting community engagement events across the state and nationally to encourage parents to take part in PowerTalk 21 and to commit to talking with their teens about alcohol and not drinking until they are 21.
“It is critical that parents be absolutely clear with teens that drinking prior to age 21 is unacceptable,” said Gutierrez. “The clearer the message, the more likely the teen will be able to combat the pressures they are bound to face. An open dialogue with teens means they are more likely to share with parents if they are feeling pressured.”
Drinking to get drunk can lead to risky behavior. Studies show that binge drinkers are more likely to be pushed, hit or attacked; confronted with unwanted sexual advances; sexually assaulted; or seriously injured. Nationally, underage alcohol use kills about 4,700 people each year, more than all other drugs combined.
PowerTalk 21 encourages parents to use the MADD’s Power of Parents(®) handbook to help in having these conversations with their children. MADD partnered with Dr. Robert Turrisi from Pennsylvania State University and adapted his handbook model to reach parents of high school students. The Power of Parents handbook is the cornerstone of this community-based program and is available free to communities through the website and through local parent workshops.
On April 21, MADD will host online workshops for parents to learn how to exercise the power they have over their child’s decisions about alcohol with positive tips for addressing this important issue. To find out more about the workshops or for conversation starters and tips, visit www.madd.org/powertalk21.
Nationwide Insurance is the national presenting sponsor for the Power of Parents program. In Texas, PowerTalk 21 is supported by the Texas Department of Transportation through the Take the Wheel program.
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving(®) (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. With the help of those who want a safer future, MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving(®) will end this danger on America’s roads. PowerTalk 21(®) is the national day for parents to talk with their kids about alcohol, using the proven strategies of Power of Parents(®) to reduce the risk of underage drinking. And as one of the largest victim services organizations in the U.S., MADD also supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every 8.6 minutes through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP. Learn more at www.madd.org or by calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. The company provides customers a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto insurance, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, pet, life insurance, farm, commercial insurance, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans and specialty health services. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.
Nationwide, the Nationwide frame mark, and On Your Side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.
SOURCE Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Texas