Ten Tips On Talking With Your Teens About Underage Drinking
Teens whose parents talk to them about drinking are much more likely to be safe and to make good choices than those whose parents never address the subject.
Alcohol is the number one substance of abuse for teens. You have the power to influence your teen’s choices about drinking, so get talking.
- 1. Make it a conversation, not a lecture. When you talk with your children about drinking, listen to them and respect what they say.
- 2. Take advantage of everyday “teachable moments.” Use everyday events in your life to point out things you’d like your child/teen to know about.
- 3. Talk about peer pressure. Brainstorm with him/her on a few ways to navigate tricky social situations. Rehearse and repeat different scenarios like school dances and graduation night. Try questions like, “If your friends are drinking at the party, how will you handle it?”
- 4. Be clear about expectations. Remember your teen needs boundaries and rules
- 5. Discuss Why Not. Be honest and share the facts about alcohol, and be open to discussion and questions.
- 7. Remain open. Friends and life situations are going to change. Make sure your teen knows you are available to talk w/o judgment.
- 8. Keep your emotions in check. Chances are you are going to hear something you don’t like. Try and keep your cool. Take a few deep breaths and acknowledge your feelings in a constructive way.
- 9. Choose a neutral location. Kids often feel more open to discussing “tough” topics when you both are engaged in other activities; cooking together, watching a show together or spending time together outdoors.
- 10. Empower them. The more decisions you allow them to make for themselves, the better choices they are likely to make in the real world.
Remember when they ask you about why you enjoy drinking your favorite wine or craft beer, ask them to point out the differences between you and them. Important differences such as height, weight, etc. and internal organs that are fully developed. Remind them how their taste and likes/dislikes change over time as their body matures. Matures, being the driving word!
Happy Parenting & DriveBetter!