Teenagers are notoriously wild and adventurous. Some of these adventures can lead them to situations where alcohol is easily available. When it’s time to start talking to your teenager about drinking, here are five ways you can make the conversation more successful.
1. Encourage Questions
Teenagers do not respond well to being talked to as if they are to blindly obey what is told to them. Teenagers are naturally rebellious and curious. Instead of talking to them, you should encourage them to ask questions. Encouraging questions also means that if they ask you something that implies they’ve already tried alcohol or are considering it, you cannot get upset and yell at them. This will only close the line of communication you’ve created. Remain calm and objective during the questioning.
2. Be Honest With Them
Your teen will lose respect for you and for your words if they catch you lying to them or being a hypocrite. When questions are being asked or advice is being sought, always be as honest with your teenager as possible. For your teenager to understand the consequences and temptations of drinking, you must be honest about those consequences and your own temptations at their age.
3. Don’t Force It
The potential for drinking is always present, but the talk regarding your teenager’s drinking should be timed advantageously. Instead of trying to talk with them as they’re heading out the door to meet friends, opt to wait until after dinner when they’re feeling comfortable and relaxed from a delicious meal and are in for the night.
4. Work The Topic In
It will make your teenager uncomfortable if you’re folding laundry with them then suddenly bring up the topic of them drinking. Instead, wait until you two are having a casual conversation or are watching a movie where drinking is involved. Then, work the topic of drinking into the conversation in a very subtle and gentle manner.
5. Set Some Ground Rules
You cannot be with your teenager every minute of every day. You also cannot control what they do behind your back. What you can do is lay down some ground rules to mitigate the dangers of their underage drinking should it occur. Telling them to always call you for a ride home if they’ve been drinking is a very good rule to start with. Never leaving a drink unattended is a great second rule. If drinking does happen, safety should always be the first consideration.