The Importance of Parent’s Role in Guiding Teens About Drinking
Parents who take a more passive or permissive approach to guidance will want to rethink that, if in no other area but the issue of substance abuse. Teens may appear on the outside to want nothing to do with mom and dad when they reach adolescence, but in reality they still crave the loving guidance of their parents. They need direction.
While true that parents have little control over their teens drinking behaviors, especially once they reach high school, they can still have an important role to play in shaping the teen’s attitudes about drugs and alcohol. Having open conversations with the teen on a regular basis is much more natural when a close parent-child bond already exists. Cultivating such a relationship from early childhood paves the way for discussions about the hazards of drinking over the years. The information the parent provides will be retained on some level when it has been a normal aspect of the parent-teen bond.
Just as important as the words a parent uses to convey the dangers of drinking, teenage drinking parenting advice falls flat if the parent does not provide a good example to their kids. Kids and teens tend to model the behaviors they grow up with in the home. Parents should refrain from overt signs of alcohol use or intoxication in order to provide validity to their pronouncements about the dangers of alcohol use.
Because all parents were at one time teenagers, they understand the temptations around experimenting with alcohol. Being on the offensive as a parent is wise. This can mean coordinating oversight with other parents of teens the child hangs out with. Forming an open line of communication with these other parents can provide information about gatherings, if they are supervised, and activities at the parties.
Teach Teens that Drinking Can Be Lethal
According to statistics provided by the NIAAA an estimated 188,000 teens visited the emergency department due to an alcohol-related incident in 2011. Further, the agency attributes approximately 4,500 deaths of teens per year to an alcohol-related event. These deaths include: