Children grow up so fast, and before you know it, your child has become a teen who goes out with friends and has a life of their own. Having any “talk” with a teen about serious issues can be a challenge. As a parent, you may feel floundered and altogether ill-prepared to discuss anything that can threaten your child’s future. But the fact of the matter is, there’s no time to waste when having these discussions. If you’re ready to discuss and encourage your teen to avoid alcohol, here is how to have the underage drinking talk with your teen.
Understanding Why Teens Drink
Of course, we were once teens ourselves, so in a way, we completely understand the temptation to drink. Whether it’s the pressure to feel more independent, a greater part of the crowd, or simply as a way to relieve the stress of school and studies amongst their peers. Teens are under near-constant pressure to perform and live up to the standards set by teens in media. Regardless of if a teen is using alcohol to experiment to please friends or as a coping mechanism, there are many pathways for a child to use such a substance.
How to Have the Underage Drinking Talk with Your Teen
Being unsure of what to say is a large reason why parents tend to dodge this tough conversation altogether. But the truth is, communication with your kid is key. By fostering a relationship of open conversation, you can build up a trust with your developing teen. By talking about the truths of teen drinking, they may feel more comfortable coming to you for guidance in the future. Remember to have this conversation when both you and your teen are relaxed and don’t worry about covering everything in one single conversation. Talking often can have a bigger overall impact than having only one long conversation.
Ask your teen for their opinion:
You might be unsure of what to say and your teen might try to dodge the conversation. To start the discussion, choose a time when you are both relaxed. Don’t worry about covering everything. If you talk often, you might have a greater impact on your teen than if you talk only once. When you talk about underage drinking:
Ask about their opinion. Find out what they think about alcohol. Ask them if they’ve ever been offered a drink. Have they been interested, and why?
Talk about drinking myths. Talk to them about what they assume alcohol can do for them. Do they think it will help their popularity or make them happier? Talk to them about the truths behind what they’re feeling in the moment.
Talk to them about drinking and driving. If your teen is driving, it’s time to have this talk. If you have rules for being behind the wheel, make it known that partaking in alcohol or being a passenger around those that do is an absolute no go.
Prepare yourself for tough questions. Your teen will likely ask you if you drank when you were there age. Be honest and be prepared to answer. It might be hard to admit, but if it’s the truth, it’s time to tell them the truth. It may help them through this time, and may even help you find a greater connection with your teen.