Most parents understand that they’ll need to have some potentially challenging conversations with their kids at one time or another. They will need to talk to them about sex, and drugs as well. They will undoubtedly need to speak to them about alcohol use and misuse since alcohol is so prevalent in society and it’s so readily available.
Talking to teens about alcohol might not be fun, but it’s necessary. Let’s talk about dos and don’ts that will go along with that conversation.
Don’t Sugarcoat How Much of a Problem Alcohol Can Be
When you’re talking to your teen about alcohol use, you should give them the facts. That includes telling them about things like alcoholism, what an alcohol withdrawal timeline is like, the dangers of drinking and driving, and so forth. You should not spare them any of the ugly facts about alcohol, of which there are many.
Don’t Use Scare Tactics
However, just because you tell them the truth about the ugly or dark side of alcohol, that does not mean you should try to demonize alcohol and make it sound like the worst thing in the world. It should do no harm to tell your teen that modest alcohol consumption is usually not an issue if you’re of legal age and you have it under control.
You might tell them that it’s probably a bad idea to drink every day but that having a glass of wine with a meal occasionally is not likely to have severe health effects. In other words, be measured and realistic in what you say.
Use Examples from Your Life
If you want to emphasize the dangers of alcohol, you can use facts and figures, but you might get through to your teen better if you tell them about examples you’ve witnessed in your own life. Most people have known a parent or sibling who has struggled with alcoholism. If not, maybe you’ve known a close friend.
Because alcohol problems are so prevalent, nearly everyone has one or two horror stories
about what can happen if you ingest too much of it. It’s not a bad idea to share those with your teen as examples of what can happen if someone overindulges or becomes addicted.
Don’t Tell Your Teen You’ll Be Furious if They Do It
Finally, you should emphasize to your teen that you don’t want them drinking. However, if they do end up sampling alcohol at some point, as many teens do, you want them to do it as safely as possible.
Let them know that if they’ve ever ingested alcohol and they’re stuck somewhere, they can call you for a ride, and you won’t be angry with them. You may be disappointed they drank, but it’s always better to reach out to you than to drive drunk or to get in a car with someone who has been drinking.
Hopefully, this sane and careful approach to alcohol will be the best way to introduce the subject to your teen.