If you’re the parent of a teenager, it’s important to have a talk about alcohol with them. Sharing important information at this stage will help them make responsible decisions, preserving their health and your peace of mind as they get older. If you’re wondering about how exactly to go about this, have a look at three essential tips you can use to effectively talk to them.
Explain the Risks
While the risks of alcohol abuse may be quite obvious to you at your age, think back to when you were a teenager and consider what you knew about alcohol. Your teen likely has a lot of information to filter through about alcohol, so make it easier for them to understand it. Teenagers whose parents talk to them early on about the risks of alcohol consumption generally tend to make better decisions where alcohol is concerned when they come of age, so this should inspire you to have the talk now before they start to consume it. Share with them facts like alcohol and illicit drugs play a major role in over 15,000 car injury fatalities every year, and they may start to get a perspective. Don’t let them start experimenting on their own, as this will leave them prone to unnecessary risk.
Keep Open Lines of Communication
To make sure that your teenager can share their concerns with you, always keep the lines of communication open and free of judgment. Peer pressure is a leading cause of poor decisions made by a lot of teenagers, so this is a crucial time to let them be free to approach you at any time. This is the reality for the roughly 56.6 million students who went to elementary, middle, and high school in 2019 across America. Constantly stay ready to answer their questions and guide them along the right path because they need you most at this point. If they don’t fear judgment from you when they get curious or experiment, they will be more likely to run things by you before they try them out. They will remember the advice you give them for years to come, so share the information that will make a difference to their future health right now.
Alcohol, like many other things, is surrounded by plenty of myths. Most of these myths are dangerous, which is why you need to destroy them as early as you can. Due to their environment or friends and rumors, for instance, your teen may think that they need to take alcohol in order to be happy. Let them know that this is simply not the case, as there are plenty of other things that they can do to uplift their moods. With 88% of people responding to a survey saying that receiving a gift of flowers can improve their mood, for instance, share with your teen that they can look to such wholesome alternatives as gardening and exchanging flowers instead of alcohol. Other myths are portrayed by advertisements for alcohol which show people having a great time while drinking. If such an ad comes up on the screen while you’re watching with your teen, take the opportunity to debunk this myth on the spot, letting them know that their mental and physical health can be undermined by improper consumption of alcohol.
Teaching teens moral behavior may be a testy subject that most parents shy away from, but this is not the right thing to do. Plan your talks out before you have them, making sure you’re ready to answer some uncomfortable questions, and you will find that it’s possible to hold a mature conversation with your teenager that will positively impact them.