CASA and school red ribbon contests all across this NY County reinforce to kids, teens and tweens especially, that they can refuse to use alcohol. Kids then, have a choice to make -over and over again. To repeatedly make this choice takes persistence and commitment. Parents should recognize how difficult it can be for kids to make the “better” choice.
Surprisingly, kids and even many parents have biased attitudes in the substance use arena. A kid’s world is smaller, relatively brief and very selective. They see what they see. Some see and encounter responsible use of alcohol or no use and assume that this is normal. Others see excessive use of alcohol around them and assume that everyone drinks, or will eventually drink. On average maybe 13% of substance abusers will actually go on to become addicts. Yet there are risk factors, genetic, social, etc that can move your risk up to 400%. The media more often than not presents drinking and substance using as a popular and mostly harmless pastime, a simple and reversible choice and also a good coping mechanism.
Red Ribbon reminds us that we all have choices. If your friends drink, well, you still get to decide if you will drink. Accepting that everyone is doing it just isn’t accurate. It is only a convenient excuse to make the choice easier -for kids and for parents.