There is much that can be done towards the prevention of alcoholism among teens. It is important for parents to be proactive about teenage alcoholism prevention. Educators are also in a good position to help prevent underage drinking, but it is parents that have the most influence.
Here are some simple strategies you can use to help prevent drinking in your teens.
Talk With Your Teens About Alcohol Use and the Prevention of Alcoholism
Talking with your teens about alcohol and alcoholism is the single most important thing you can do in the name of teenage alcoholism prevention. Since many youth begin drinking in their early teens or preteen years, it’s important to begin these conversations early. Don’t have just one conversation, though; communication should be ongoing.
Talk to your teens about drinking and teenage alcoholism prevention. Studies show that teens whose parents discuss drinking with them are far less likely to drink than their peers whose parents don’t talk about the issue.
Provide accurate information about alcohol use and alcoholism to your teens. Take the time to educate yourself if needed.
Set clear expectations that your teens will not drink at all. Make sure your teens know the rules about alcohol and that you enforce the rules consistently.
Teach your teens about the dangers of underage drinking. They need to understand the risks in order to make good decisions.
Discuss laws about underage drinking. Drinking is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 in all states. Underage drinking can also result in the loss of a driver’s license in many states. This can be a powerful deterrent for many teens.
Allow your teens to talk about their opinions and feelings about alcohol use and the prevention of alcoholism. Listen carefully and respect their feelings, even if you disagree.
Help Your Teens Make Good Decisions About Alcohol
Don’t just talk to your teen about the prevention of alcoholism. Give them the tools they need in order to abstain.
Teach your teens how to resist peer pressure and drinking. Give them concrete strategies they can use when the issue comes up.
Teach your teens how to say no. It might be helpful to actually rehearse with them.
Help them find ways to have fun without alcohol. Part of teenage alcoholism prevention is providing good alternatives.
Never give alcohol to your teens. Tell them that any alcohol in your home is off limits to them and to their friends.
Don’t let your teens attend parties where alcohol is served. Any party your teens attend should be supervised by a responsible adult.
Make sure alcohol isn’t available at teen parties in your own home. Not only does this send the wrong message to teens, it is illegal in most places to provide alcohol to teens.
Stress to your teen the importance of never drinking and driving. They should also never ride in a car with someone who has been drinking. Let them know they can call you anytime for a ride.
Set a good example. If you drink alcohol, do so responsibly. Never drive when you’ve been drinking. This alone can go a long way toward teenage alcoholism prevention.
Some experimentation with alcohol is normal for teens, although it is never a good thing. If you’re concerned that your teen is using alcohol on any kind of a regular basis, though, you should get professional help for him or her. It’s important to be proactive about the prevention of alcoholism.