Tips for Talking about Alcohol with your Teen
It’s a sobering fact, but according to the National Center on Addiction and
Substance Abuse, almost 80 percent of high school students have tried alcohol.
What’s a parent to do?
First, state your expectations. Tell your teen that you don’t want them to drink. It might seem like they aren’t listening, but children’s values typically are close to their parents’.
Second, talk to your teen about the effects of alcohol. Teens see beautiful people having fun at clubs in movies and commercials; they don’t see the depressant effects of alcohol or the lowering of inhibition that might cause them to do things that have unwanted social, physical and legal ramifications. For example, drinking lowers inhibitions and can lead to sex, which can result in STDs and pregnancy.
Third, remind them what is at stake. Their life, reputation, trust, driver’s license and freedom will all be on the line if they drink.
Other things you can do include: getting to know your teen’s friends and their parents, monitoring and locking up alcohol in your home, and knowing where your kids are at all times. Another useful tool is role playing. Ask your child what they would do if their ride was drinking or if they were at a party with alcohol. Give them tips on how to say no. Also, ask them how they would get to work if they didn’t have a license, or how they would feel if a photo of them doing something they wouldn’t typically do was circulated among their friends.
For more helpful ideas, go to: www.dontletminorsdrink.com/parent.
Anne Burkley is a freelance writer from Harrisburg.