Bensalem parents, officials attend workshop on underage drinking

A group of Bensalem parents attended a workshop on underage drinking held at the Bensalem Country Club last week.

The conversation revolved around understanding teen drinking and how parents can help their children make responsible decisions. The project was funded through the Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission and coordinated by Building a Better Together (B3T), Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Jewish Family and Children’s Services. Bensalem Mayor Joseph DiGirolamo and Superintendent Sam Lee were in attendance.

Presenter Adrienne Madnick, who works with children in the Bensalem School District, highlighted ways parents can bridge the subject with their children.

“At age 12, parents and peers kind of intersect as far as how much influence they have, and then parents have a tendency to go a little downhill,” Madnick said. “At that crossroads, around middle school age, that’s where these conversations should be had.”

Madnick also referenced the 2013 Pennsylvania Youth Survey, where results indicated that 8 percent of eighth-graders have used alcohol in the past 30 days. The numbers jump to about 27 percent by 10th grade and almost half by 12th grade.

Suggestions for the conversation include choosing to have it when both of you have downtime in order to have a more relaxed discussion, being honest about your past, emphasizing common goals like staying healthy or keeping safe and avoiding debate. A full list is available on www.madd.org/underage-drinking.

Over the last decade, Madnick has worked with children from first to eighth grades and said students often are educated about drug and alcohol abuse as early third grade.

“We have good kids in Bensalem and they really understand the consequences of drug and alcohol use,” Madrick said. “They hear it, hopefully they internalize it. I’m hoping some of this good information resonates with them.”

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