Starting the conversation about underage drinking

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- It's that time of year again, prom and graduation season and that usually means teens will be going to parties and get-togethers.

“I’m looking forward to dressing up and looking nice for a night you don't get to do that all the time,” Memorial High school sophomore Austin Beaulieu said.

Beaulieu and his friends say they are looking forward to going to prom for the first time. They also say it’s not just the dancing and dressing up that they are excited for.

“It’s more the stuff you do after prom that is the big thing, not really prom itself,” Hildebrand said.

Before the big night comes Beaulieu says his parents and his teachers have sent a clear message about after prom festivities.

“They told us to make sure you aren't out causing trouble, they want us to be safe,” Beaulieu explained.

It’s that message that Kristin Hildebrand and the Parents Who Host Lose the Most campaign hopes stick with teens.

Parents Who Host Lose the Most says parents should start talking to their kids about the dangers of alcohol as early as third grade.

“Anytime you add alcohol into a situation with a teenager you are asking for trouble,” Hildebrand explained.

Hildebrand says, on average, kids in Eau Claire County will have their first drink at the age of 13, that's why it’s important for parents to start talking about alcohol sooner as opposed to later.

“We want to make sure that parents are talking to their kids at least a couple years before they might initiate alcohol use,” Hildebrand explained.

Hildebrand says parents should wait for natural opportunities to initiate conversations. She says they don't need to be long, just a simple, clear message that drinking under age 21 is not acceptable.

“A great message for a parent to say to a child would be ‘in our family we don't use alcohol until we are 21’” Hildebrand offered as an example. “That would be a great message for a 9 or ten year old.”

Hildebrand adds that parents should have the conversation about alcohol more than just once.

Parents Who Host Lose the Most does have a website available for more tips on how you can start the conversations with your kids.

We have a link to that site available on this page under Related Links.

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