As a parent I am extremely lucky that my eldest teenager who is 15 is not interested in taking alcohol. Whether that is by design or because we talked about alcohol from a young age, I don’t know but I thought it would be helpful to give you some hints and tips on how to start these conversations with your teenagers. Indeed, don’t wait until they are teenagers, have the conversations early and keep revisiting the topic as your children gain new levels of understanding.
Below are my top tips, let me know how you get on:
TALK TO YOUR CHILD EARLY ABOUT ALCOHOL
Start talking to your child when you feel the time is right, you don’t have to tell them everything whatever is appropriate at the right time.
ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS YOUR CHILD HAS ABOUT ALCOHOL
Be ready and willing to answer questions that your child has about alcohol. Read up on the effects of alcohol and what the legal limits are.
GET THE FACTS RIGHT
Read up on facts about alcohol and be ready for any question. For example, know how drink impacts on children and the developing brain. Know the legal limits and when the law says you can drink.
SET YOUR CLEAR EXPECTATIONS
Know what you want for your child at specific ages. You wouldn’t want your 7 year old drinking alcohol at all, however you may allow your 16 year old to try a glass of wine with their dinner. Be clear and concise as to what your expectations are.
KEEP YOUR COMMUNICATION CHANNELS OPEN
It is important to let your teenagers know that you are there for them and they can come to you at all times and ask questions or tell you things. If they do come to you, don’t jump to conclusions, remain calm and answer with a consideration.
STEER YOUR TEENAGER RATHER THAN CONTROLLING
As a parent I know from experience that you can’t control them. The best you can do is steer them in the right direction hoping the values you have instilled in them will be enough to help them make the right choices. Talk to your child and try and steer them in a positive direction. You will also have to listen to what they say too!
BE A ROLE MODEL FOR YOUR TEENAGER
I have to admit to not drinking at all. I could never stomach the stuff. However, even if you do drink be a role model for your teenager. Research shows that children can be influenced by their parents’ drinking so if you do drink, don’t drink in excess around your teenager.
I do hope these tips help you with your teenager and alcohol. Let me know what you think below.