Teenagers are renegades, always looking for the thrill that comes from breaking the law. That is why getting drunk at a young age, despite all the warnings, seems to attract them. In fact, 60% of them will have tasted a glass of alcohol by the age of 18, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse.
Sadly for you as a parent, you will have to live in constant fear whenever your kid leaves home to go to a social event such as the prom or even once they enter college. While you might have warned your kids against drinking excessively, you might still notice that they will take a drink or two often. The trick lies in the way you approach this issue.
Here is how to prevent teenage drinking from a young age:
Start With Reinforcing Safety First
Among the most significant concerns of having your child drink during social events is that they will drive while intoxicated. The trick is to ensure that this is impossible. If it happens, you should work to reduce the chances of an accident occurring. Start by installing a breathalyzer in car to ensure that they cannot drive while intoxicated.
While these devices are meant to be foolproof, you might still need to add precautionary measures, especially if the kids try to outsmart the device. First, you can buy them a car that has safety features such as lane assist technology to reduce the chances of having an accident. On the other hand, you can encourage them to call a taxi (to be paid by you) whenever they feel that they are too impaired to drive. This approach will eliminate the mentality that they need to drive home.
Speak from Your Kid’s Perspective
Most parents only tell their kids that they shouldn’t drink without even offering them some reasons why it is bad. Other might threaten to ground their kids for life in case they show up on their doorstep drunk. Sadly, both approaches only scare your kid, instead of speaking to their beliefs. The chances are that they will resume drinking once they are far from your radar.
While telling a kid that smoking kills might not work for your kid, talking about how it turns their teeth yellow and causes bad breath might work. The same applies to the debate about drinking. Use the things that your kid cares about most to change their view on the effects that taking alcohol will have on them. For instance, you can talk about a decrease in school performance or making a fool out of themselves in a drunken state.
Walk the Talk
Advising your kids on avoiding drinking will be ineffective if you arrive home drunk regularly. Ideally, you should quit drinking to show them that a life without alcohol dependency is possible. If you must have a drink, train them on the difference between drinking responsibly and excessively.
In the later stages of their lives when they no longer share a roof with you, they might go out to drink. Such simple lessons might be what draws the line between losing them to a road accident and them arriving home safely. Being the perfect role model for them should include taking a cab home instead of driving while drunk.
Talk To Them about Impaired Judgement
Your kids need to understand that taking excessive alcohol might place them in bad situations even though they are good people. For instance, the relationship between taking alcohol and getting into crimes like burglary, sexual assault, and the urge to fight should be addressed. By telling them that they lose control of their judgment, you might just strike a nerve.
Underage drinking destroys your kid’s life from a young age. The trick is to shy away from excessive drinking. The more you can turn your teenager’s perspective around, the easier it will be to prevent it.