As a parent, you want what’s best for your teen. You care about their well-being and safety and want to teach them to make the right choices. As a teen, there are many pressures and opportunities to drink alcohol. Whether it’s at a party, a friends house or even a school event, it’s not uncommon for alcohol to be present. So how do you approach this subject with your teens and prevent from them from abusing alcohol? Here are a few tips.
Explain the Risks
One way you can help your teen to avoid alcohol abuse is by being open with them about the risks associated. While there’s no need to exaggerate or be dishonest, it’s important that your teen understands there are legal, health and safety implications to underage drinking. For example, teach them about alcohol poisoning and the effects of binge drinking.
Address any Underlying Issues
Sometimes, there might be other underlying issues that need to be addressed and alcohol consumption is merely a coping mechanism or symptom. Therefore, it’s important to check in with your teen. How are their social circles? Are they feeling stressed or overwhelmed? Are they living with a mental health condition? While these aren’t excuses for alcohol abuse, they may be deeper issues that also need to be resolved.
Set Boundaries and Consequences
As a parent, don’t be afraid to set very clear boundaries. With these, be clear and concrete about consequences as well. When possible, establish the boundaries with your teen before a situation arises. This way when a situation does arise, you’ll simply have to point to the previously established boundaries which your teen should have been well aware of.
Be a Role Model
Don’t forget that your teen pays attention to what you do. Be a positive role model—avoid leaving alcohol out for easy access and limit your own drinking. Never drink and drive and be responsible in social situations where your teen is present.
Open Communication Lines
Most importantly, be open with your teen about your feelings towards alcohol abuse and your concern for them. Allow them to ask you questions and encourage open and honest communication. Your teen might make mistakes, and even though they’ll have to face consequences, it’s important that they know they can still come to you for help and support.
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