When teenagers drink, an afternoon or evening can end with a devastating conclusion. Not only could your teenager injure herself while drinking, her condition could also harm other innocent people. Because the stakes are so high, it’s wise to intervene and talk with teenagers about the realities of alcohol consumption. With the right approach, your conversation may convince your teenager to avoid alcohol.
Communicate your stance on underage drinking with your teenager to eliminate all uncertainties and unspoken questions about your position, advises the Michigan Department of Community Health. Institute clear rules about your no-alcohol policy and communicate connected consequences if you catch your teenager drinking.
Provide your child with a few alcohol facts to help her understand the risks. Explain that alcohol reduces coordination, reaction time, vision and judgment, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Tell your child that one drink may take up to three hours to wear off and it’s common for a person to have difficulty judging the personal effect of a drink.
Discuss peer pressure and peer activities involving alcohol. Teenagers may have difficulty resisting alcohol when they see peers and friends imbibing, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Ask your teen if she knows other kids who drink. Ask your teen if she can think of risks and issues involved with drinking. Invite your teenager to share thoughts with you. Respond by listening and sharing your personal opinions based on experience.
Talk about alcohol advertising with your teenager so she understands how advertising works, suggests the National Crime Prevention Council. Notice with your teenager how the models in print ads and actors in commercials are always beautiful and handsome, implying that anyone who drinks will also be beautiful or handsome. Note also when name-brand alcohol appears in movies, discussing how influential it can be to see movie stars drinking alcohol.
Mention other reasons to avoid alcohol to your teenager, such as the loss of self-respect that can come with drinking, possible alcohol dependence, the possibility of violent crime in connection with drinking and other high-risk behavior that often accompanies drinking (sexual activity and illegal activity).
Monitor your teenager’s conduct and activities to ensure she follows your rules. If you discern drinking activity, follow through on the promised consequences so your teenager realizes that you are serious about your rule.