With three teens; two high schoolers, (a son who is senior, a daughter who is a freshman) as well as a middle school daughter, I am constantly trying to learn. As I do, I share it with my kids. It seems that almost every day I have something new I want to share with them; something to make them aware of.
Yesterday afternoon, it was alcohol poisoning. I read a story in teen Vogue of a young man who died while partying at a freshmen initiation party at college. Studies showed that he had consumed a half gallon of whiskey in about a half an hour. His blood alcohol level was .328 percent – over four times the .08 percent that is the national standard for drunk driving. While he laid passed out, other students came by, and wrote on his body. When an ambulance was finally called, Gordie,was already dead.
“According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol poisoning refers to a series of complex physiological reactions to alcohol and the toxic by-products that result when the body metabolizes alcohol. Binge drinking is the main cause of it. When someone has alcohol poisoning, the nerves that control involuntary actions like breathing and the gag reflex are depressed – a fatal amount of alcohol will stop them altogether. Those who have had too much to drink could choke on their own vomit or stop breathing. Signs of alcohol poisoning include mental confusion, stupor, coma, vomiting, seizures, fewer than eight breaths per minute (or ten seconds between breathes), low body temperature, bluish skin color and paleness.” 1
Each year, 1,700 students die of alcohol related deaths. What can we do to stop one of our precious children from being one of those statistics?
It starts with a conversation. Our kids are exposed to under age drinking at very young ages and in many different places.
Recently on a trip to the mountains, I saw a billboard that really got my attention. It had a picture of a big refrigerator on it and read “Where are your kids getting their beer? Right next to the milk.” That was one sign that stuck with me for awhile.
It is important to share with your children what your stance on drinking is, but even if you believe that Christians should abstain, you should still cover the dangers of over drinking. If we do not, our children may think that it is simply a decision based on conscience. Conscience does play a huge part, but so does safety.
Share with your child the effects and signs of alcohol poisoning. Make sure that they know that if they should ever choose to binge drink, death could be a consequence. Be sure they know the signs noted above in case they were to ever see these signs in a friend. Be sure that they know it is better to call 911 than to fear getting into trouble.
Your kids reaction will probably be the same as mine were when I read them Gordie’s story, “Mom, I’m not going to do that!” I sure hope they don’t, but if they do, at least they will do so knowledgeably and not in ignorance.
So plan to have that conversation tonight. It might start off something like this, “Hey, I read this thing today on the internet…”
How do you think we can best help our children not become one of these painful statistics? Please share with us your comments below!
PS The winner of yesterdays “Mom and Me” prize pack was firstname.lastname@example.org. I am so thankful for random number generators! You all left such heart felt comments; I would have had a terrible time picking one of them! Keep coming back…we’ll do it again real soon!
1. teenVogue, February 2010, pg. 34