Talking with Your Teenager about Alcohol Consumption
As a mother there are a few topics that can be difficult and uncomfortable to talk about with your teenage son or daughter. However as difficult as they may be, some discussions are necessary and must take place. One of these is a frank discussion about alcohol and drinking amongst your teen’s peer group.
This is a subject that you should not put off having until your teen is in the latter part of his/her teens- instead have the talk as early as possible!
Don’t wait until your teen starts to drink without your knowledge and worse, become an alcoholic who will need to enter alcohol rehab programs for treatment. Talk to them now.
Talking Openly and Honestly
Parents are often in the dark about drinking among teenagers. They also vastly underestimate the extent to which teenagers drink, as well as how early they begin to experiment with alcohol. Teen drinking however is not something that you have to automatically accept will take place. You can talk with your teenager and discuss the risks as well as the health consequences that go along with the consumption of alcohol. It is also important to encourage and support your teen son or daughter in making decisions that are right for him or her.
Having a frank discussion (or a number of discussions if need be) with your teen is not always easy. In fact it can be nerve wracking not just for you but also for your teenager! You may be uncertain as to how to approach the topic and not know exactly what you should say about it. Your teenager on the other hand may try to dodge your attempts at conversing on the subject and may become distant or evasive when you begin to talk. Don’t be surprised if your teen rolls his or her eye a couple of times or does not seem very interested in the conversation that is taking place. As a mother you are used to this by now, are you not?
Planning the Time and Place
Choose a time to talk when the two of you are both feeling calm and relaxed. Do not choose a time when either of you are distracted or stressed by other things. You need to have a clear head when you broach the subject of alcohol with your son or daughter.
This also goes for the place where you will have the discussion. Choose somewhere that is quiet, calm and free of distractions and/or interruptions. Do not overwhelm yourself by feeling that you must touch on every aspect related to the subject of teen drinking. In fact it is better if you break the conversation down into parts and have more than one talk about this important issue. Having shorter discussions can help both of you to feel even more relaxed and focused on the subject at hand.
Getting the Discussion Underway
It would be wise if you began the conversation by finding out how much your teen knows about alcohol in general. Then you can ask him to share his views about alcohol. Listen carefully to what your teen has to say regarding his thoughts, opinions and ideas about this subject. Listen carefully.
Once you have listened then you get to have the floor. Provide the necessary facts to your teenager. Tell him that alcohol is a drug that has a very powerful and disruptive effect on both the body and the mind. Tell him that alcohol is very addictive and anyone can fall victim to it- including individuals in his age group.
Keep in mind as you talk that many teenagers believe that alcohol can help them to fit in with the popular crowd at school and can also help them to feel happier and more fulfilled in their lives. Teenagers harbor many fallacies about alcohol and often see its allure but not its downside. As a parent you need to debunk these misconceptions in the gentlest manner possible. Let your teen know that alcohol is a depressant that can cause them to feel depressed, sad and /or angry. Let them know that even though alcohol is legal it acts on the nervous system in negative ways.
Keep the Discussion on a Positive Note
Keep your teenager’s self-respect in mind as you communicate why drinking is not a good idea. Be as positive as possible. Do not attempt to threaten your teen and do not use scare tactics to warn him off of drinking. These tactics rarely if ever work and they are simply not a good argument for the case that you are trying to build. What you should do instead is explain the risks to your teen in a no-nonsense manner that he can understand and relate to. If he has any questions then be prepared to answer them in a simple and concise manner.