Being a parent to teenagers can feel stressful, and at times overwhelming. As your children turn into young adults, they are facing hormonal changes, moral dilemmas, and even pressures from society and their peers. When you want to ensure your teens make the right decisions when it comes to alcohol, it is important to understand the risk factors yourself along with various methods of communication. Communicating effectively with your teens while they are growing up is one way to keep them from using alcohol or making poor decisions in their future. The more educated you become on alcohol and its effects, the easier it will be to convey any message you want to share with your teens.
Develop Positive Parenting Techniques
Rather than being an authoritarian or permissive parent, take on the challenge of positive parenting even if it seems entirely too difficult or impossible with your teen. Positive parenting requires you to be understanding of your teen and their development, while also encouraging positive behaviors and actions regardless of the situation. Being a positive parent requires you to have strict rules without being too overprotective or harsh on your teens as they grow and develop into themselves during their teen years.
Setting consequences with positive parenting is recommended along with boosting your teen’s self-esteem. Finding a balance between being a parent and a friend or supporter is a key factor in keeping the lines of communication open at all times with your children. When a teenager has higher self-esteem, they are less likely to give in to societal and peer pressures, including using alcohol illegally. Make it clear to your teen that it is required to wait until the legal age of 21 before he or she is allowed to drink alcohol.
You can help to boost your teen’s overall self-esteem and confidence by helping them to set realistic goals for their future, allowing them choices when it comes to their lives and even praising their academic and extracurricular achievements. The more praise you are able to give your teen about their future and the positive choices they make in their lives, the more likely they are to stay strong when it comes to choosing their future career and plans over alcohol and drugs.
When you offer your teens responsibility and focus on your teen’s strengths rather than their weaknesses, you help to build their self-esteem and keep them looking forward to their future. You should also always have an open ear and take any of your teen’s concerns or issues they are facing seriously, even if they seem petty or minimal to you as an adult. If you are not able to listen to your teens about their problems, they may seek other outlets such as drugs and alcohol as an alternative.
Get Educated Yourself
Before you can expect your teen to understand all of the effects of alcohol and drugs, it is essential to get educated yourself on the matter. Researching about teenage alcoholism facts and knowing more about how alcohol can cause short and long-term effects on the body is a key factor to openly communicating with your teen and conveying the right message.
Share facts about alcohol abuse to be taken more seriously by your teen. Kids who drink alcohol before the age of 21 are more likely to face academic issues, drown or fall when out, and may even find themselves assaulted much easier. Additionally, drinking alcohol before the age of 21 can lead to future abuse problems with alcohol and drugs in life. When teens under the age of 21 use alcohol, they are also more likely to get involved in car crashes and die due to alcohol abuse when they are not prepared to handle it.
Work On Communicating Effectively
Communicating effectively is absolutely necessary when you want to have an open dialogue with your teen and if you want them to listen to you over peers and the outside pressures they may be facing. Starting the conversation about alcohol use can be done by inquiring about your teen’s friends and their usage of alcohol. Asking your teen if they know others who use alcohol and how it has affected them academically and with their relationships will help to give your teen more perspective personally when making their own decisions.
Being honest and upfront with your teen about your own alcohol experiences when you were younger may also help, especially if you were affected negatively and then decided not to use alcohol again until you were a responsible adult. Inquire whether your teen sees any risks or concerns with using alcohol at their age in order to determine where they stand when it comes to the substances and whether or not they want to begin using it. After asking questions, it is important not to divulge too much information and instead, allow your teen to do most of the talking. Avoid critically judging your teen and his or her friends when your teen is being honest and opening up about their life.
If your teen begins to use alcohol and you discover this, it is important to have a conversation rather than giving lectures and yelling. When you lecture and yell at a teen (especially if under the influence), you may not have the ability to communicate effectively to them and may instead become an enemy to them for a short period of time.
Be a Resource for Your Teen
Being a resource for your teen is one way to keep the lines of communication open while also giving your teenager a safe place to turn to when they are faced with pressures, or if they begin experimenting with alcohol. Inform your teen that you are there for them and you are willing to listen if they are ever in trouble or if they are ever in need when it comes to peer pressure and alcohol. When you are a resource for your teen, it becomes easier to keep track of their actions and behaviors while also understanding the emotions they may be dealing with on a daily basis.
Taking the time to communicate with your teen and understand the type of pressures they may be facing is one of the best steps to getting them to understand the effects of alcohol and why it is best to stay away from using it until they are of legal age. The more you talk with your teen regularly without being overbearing or too overprotective, the more likely they are to consider you a valid resource and a trustworthy support system to help them as they grow up.