Underage Drinking and the Developing Brain, Body and Behavior

Sponsored Content by Ask, Listen, Learn  

April is Alcohol Responsibility Month, the perfect time for all of us – teachers, counselors, AND parents – to work together to combat the impacts of underage drinking on the developing brain, body and students’ behavior. Since 2003, underage drinking has declined 50% (Monitoring the Future, 2016) and conversations between parents and their kids about alcohol have increased 73% (Responsibility.org, 2016). This outstanding news is a testament to prevention specialists, educators, and parents, who work so hard to keep our communities safe. To maintain this positive trend, we must continue to educate our kids about the impacts of drinking underage and teach them to make healthy decisions.  

We know that underage drinking has a variety of serious physical, mental, and emotional impacts on kids, because their brains are still developing. Underage drinking can affect kids’ ability to excel in school and life. It affects learning and memory, slows reactions, and can even cause kids to lose interest in getting good grades and working towards their goals. So, what steps can we take this April and beyond, to encourage kids to say “YES” to a healthy lifestyle and “NO” to underage drinking?  

Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mixthe underage drinking prevention program for kids ages 9-12 from Responsibility.org, provides FREE, evidence-based and standards-aligned lesson plans for educators. The program utilizes innovative science and videos to teach kids what the brain does, what alcohol does to it, and what that can do to them. The program’s skills-based approach also teaches kids about communication, decision-making, accessing appropriate resources, and advocating for themselves and their peers.  

To support kids in making health choices, we have resources for educators AND parents.  

  • EDUCATORS: Equipping students with resources that dive deep into the science, data, and facts behind underage drinking is critical to understanding the effects of alcohol on the developing brain. We help students explore how the brain’s functions are impacted by underage drinking to empower them to say “no” if they’re faced with a tough decision.  
  • PARENTS: Talking early and often to kids about underage drinking is a critical piece of the puzzle. Parents are the number one influence on their kid’s decision to drink – or not to drink alcohol. So, even if you think your kids aren’t listening – chances are they are! And they’re definitely watching – modeling responsible behavior can be just as important as starting the conversation.  

Our goal is to equip students with the knowledge and confidence they need BEFORE they’re in a situation where they need to say “no,” so we’re excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with Discovery Education to help reach kids in more classrooms across the country in grades 5-7 with three NEW, no-cost, standards-aligned lesson plans. 

Be the first to explore these new resources and kickstart conversations in your school about the importance of healthy-decision making at DiscoverBrainBodyBehavior.com.

We hope you’ll join us in turning awareness into action as we work to prevent underage drinking. Healthy habits start with you!