News outlets across the country, including the Associated Press, are covering today’s release of the 22nd annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS,) sponsored by MetLife Foundation. The study touched upon two issues of great concern to us – underage drinking and communication between parents and teens.
The initial release of today’s study gave the wrong impression about underage drinking – it is headed in the right direction – down. Leading indicators including the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the 23rd Annual Pride Survey, and the 2010 Monitoring the Future (MTF) study, show that underage drinking among America’s youth has declined and are at record-low-levels.
What is alarming about PATS, however, is that teens do not view binge drinking as a concern and even report “it’s fun to drink.” Parents reported feeling as though “there is very little parents can do to prevent their kids from trying alcohol.”
The Century Council has shared resources and brought parents and kids together for nearly 20 years. We believe parents should start to have conversations about the dangers of underage drinking as early as age 10; our Ask Listen Learn program has an interactive and fun website and is a great place to start. But, don’t ever stop - perhaps you’ve got older kids who are making decisions about college – our Parents, You’re Not Done Yet brochure is mandatory reading material.