Drinking alcohol with the expressed purpose of getting wasted? Believe it or not, this is mostly an activity practiced by kids. Watch this brief video…
What can a parent do?
In a calm, non-threatening, supportive way, tell the child about the crucial brain development phase that’s going on during adolescence and how drinking alcohol or using drugs can disrupt normal development, causing limited intellectual capacity as an adult – for life. See my posts about teen drinking and teen use of marijuana.
Set a good example. If you must drink in their presence, do so responsibly. In other words, not as a habit, and never to excess. And never illegal drugs. If they see you do it, they’ll conclude it’s fine for them.
Help the child build a foundation for critical thinking. Kids who think about the consequences are less likely to drink alcohol to excess. Download the free ebook, How to Give Your Teen a Superior Mind at StrongForParenting.com.
Help your child boost self-esteem. Help them get involved in challenging activities. Affirm them when they do well. It takes strong self-esteem to resist peer pressure.
Give them an “out” – some things to say to counter peer pressure.
Build your own parent-child communication skills, so you can foster a sharing relationship that will let you talk proactively about these issues.
Don’t be permissive. Get a contract or agreement with a child. Set boundaries related to drinking and other behavior, such as an appropriate curfew with consistent, enforced consequences. Have the child earn trust and more freedom by showing responsibility and accountability.
When you discover their drinking, don’t turn a blind eye. Call them out. Tell them it’s not what you expect of them. Remind them of the consequences to their future life. Don’t dominate or be controlling, but get to know your teen’s friends and their parents. Always know where your teen is, and check. Stay connected by cell phone, or have a destination number.
Once your child becomes a problem drinker, the game changes. It’s time to seek professional help, just as an adult with the same problem would.