Your child is getting old enough to be curious about drinking. And, while it’s OK to be curious, it’s not OK to use and abuse alcohol. Here’s how to get children to be alcohol-aware.
Don’t Be Afraid To Say No
Most parents are afraid to say “no” to their child these days. But, this negative reaction we might experience from our own friends and others (especially during special occasions like Christmas or graduation) is unfounded — especially when it prevents us from doing what we know is right.
Teen drinking and driving is a leading cause of death in the U.S., according to car accident attorney, Ckflaw.com. If your teen is of legal driving age, it’s especially important to put your foot down before it becomes an issue.
If your child is not driving age, it’s still important to hammer home the importance of not drinking before the legal age.
If your child is feeling peer pressure, let them know that they have a person to turn to: you.
Encourage Participation In Alcohol and Drug-Free Programs
Your child might be hanging out with the “wrong crowd.” But, you can encourage them to hang out with the right crowd by finding out what afterschool programs there are that keep them away from alcohol and drugs. If the majority of your kid’s friends are drinking alcohol and using drugs to get high, then there’s a huge incentive for you to help your child get out and away from that group of people.
Connect Them With Responsible Adults
As your child grows up, they should have easy access to adults who are responsible and capable of being good role models. If your child is struggling to figure out whom they can trust, start by being a role model yourself. They can benefit from your life’s experiences.
You can also flip this around and take them to a drug and alcohol rehab center to show them what it’s like to ruin your life with drugs and alcohol. Introduce them to people in rehab, and let those people share their stories. That’s a real-life example of the results of alcohol abuse.
Educate Your Child
Sometimes, children drink because they’re bored, and because they don’t know much about alcohol and its effects. Educate them about it, and teach them the negative consequences of drinking and abusing alcohol. You don’t necessarily want to make drinking a negative thing. But, you do want to emphasize the responsibility that comes with drinking alcohol.
And, you also want to point out that developing brains, like theirs, do not handle alcohol very well. It can cause permanent brain damage.
If you already suspect that your teen is drinking, you might need professional help from other parents who’ve been through it, or from a professional counselor. A professional might be able to talk with your child and help them through it. He or she might even be able to convince them that drinking is a bad idea right now.
Morgan Sharpe works closely with schools, giving talks to teens about alcohol. She believes that education is key, being honest and open with teens and acknowledging that they will try alcohol; the key being to get them to limit that intake in a safe environment.
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