Previously, I talked about how positive messaging is a key for engaging with young people and supporting them to make healthy choices. To continue on this vein, let’s look at one of the main reasons given by young people for why they think people drink:
One of the key reasons identified for why people drink apart from the desire to fit in (see previous post) is to lose inhibitions, feel more confident, and be able to meet new people easier. Unsurprising – the same is often said about people o f all ages. Confidence is a big one, and vital in helping us to make positive choices and be strong in those choices.
So what makes us feel confident? We asked more than 500 young people across the Top End, and the results are in
**drum roll please **
The big one is, of course, friends and family, with more than 70% mentioning the people around them offering support and encouragement as the key way they gain self confidence.
So how can we support our friends and our young people to make healthier choices?
By making them feel good about themselves. Share the love, give compliments and offer encouragement every day. Support your friends, family and children to be themselves, and reward and encourage them when they do. Support your mates when they make their own choices and be their own person. Remember that everyone is different, and that is a very good thing! Compliment your friends out of the blue – you’ll make them feel great and maybe they’ll even pass on the favour to someone else. And if your friend tells you that they don’t want to drink tonight, or they are just going to have a couple, smile and say “good on you!” – and mean it! Remember how good it feels when someone supports your choices, and pay that back.
Other honourable mentions for key confidence boosters for young people include listening to music, shopping, dancing, being active and keeping fit and strong.
Moral of the story? Get out there, get active, have fun with your friends and tell your mates how amazing you think they are – regardless of the amount of alcohol they drink. Positive energy breeds more positivity, and that can only be a good thing.