I got a press release today that piqued my interest. It’s about a new parenting guide and microsite produced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The book, Delaying That First Drink: A Parent’s Guide, by Aimee Stern, is filled with current statistics and the latest research on how alcohol problems begin for kids, preteens and teens.
With my oldest son entering high school this fall, I was intrigued by the book’s corresponding microsite. Clicking through it I could see how the straightforward graphics and solid information would give tweens and teens something interesting to look at’and information that might get them thinking more about drinking.
Some of the facts:
‘ The endocrine system helps regulate growth, signals the beginning of puberty, and is involved with metabolism, tissue function, and moods by sending chemical signals called hormones from glands in the brain. Alcohol can impair both the functions of the glands that release hormones and the tissues to which they are being sent.
- ‘ Drinking too much can harm the growing brain. Today we know that the brain continues to develop from birth through the adolescent years and into the mid-20s. The prefrontal cortex, which is involved in planning and decision-making, does not completely mature until after the teen years.
- ‘ Heavy drinking also may be responsible for easy bruising or acne.
- ‘ In one study, 27 percent of students reported at least one incident of forgetting who they were with or where they were while drinking.
- ‘ Girls produce less of a particular gastric enzyme that is responsible for breaking down ethanol in the stomach. Because of this, women absorb up to nearly 30 percent more alcohol into their bloodstream than men of the same height and weight who drink the same amount of alcohol.
But, I think what might really connect with the kids who explore the microsite are the two stories told by teens about how they became alcoholics. It could be a helpful tool to open up the discussion about drinking.