Community confronts teen drinking HOWARD COUNTY EDUCATION

November 16, 1992

A parent, a police officer and a student offered advice on curbing teen-age drinking at a recent Hammond High School PTSA meeting.

"Parents need to know that their feelings to protect their children are correct and they should be less fearful of monitoring their activities," said Annette Essey, a member of the PTSA who spoke at the school's "Alcohol is a Drug, Too" program.

The mother of two Hammond students, Mrs. Essey said, "Parents are naive and often in a state of denial when it comes to their children's activities outside the home, especially when it comes to alcohol use.

"You need to look for changes in friendships and interest," she said. Mrs. Essey said parents also should monitor the availability of spending money.

Officer Sue Goldman of the Howard County Police Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program, said parents should have the full names, telephone numbers and addresses of their children's friends.

"When your child has a party, don't sit upstairs in front of the TV," she said. "Be involved and circulate. Children learn from their parents. If they see them drinking to relax they will think this is the way to handle stress.

"While the parent may be a very responsible drinker, the child doesn't have the maturity to handle it. They often challenge each other to see who can drink the most," Officer Goldman added.

Larissa Neligh, a Hammond student who told of her experiences with alcohol, said parents must be willing to help rather than scold.

"If a teen-ager gets drunk, they should feel comfortable calling their parents for a ride rather than driving themselves or riding with someone who has been drinking."

Larissa said she thinks that would help reduce the number of drunken driving incidents among young people.

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