Teenagers have an early exposure to alcohol, drugs and many other elements of modern living sometimes as young as 10 years. Valentine day parties, Birthday bashes, Farewells, Friday nights all are initiation into having alcohol way before the legal age. As parents you could keep the following things in mind to help keep your child out of trouble.
- When having a party at your home set the ground rules of the party. Even though you may want to appear cool don’t allow alcohol, tobacco or other drugs for minors and underage children in the party. Ask your teen to inform his or her friends about the rules.
- Agree on a specific area in the house for the party and be present at the time of the party.
- Set time limits for the parties. Drop in parties are hard to control.
- Discourage the guests from leaving the party and coming back as they may consume drink outside and come back.
- You could also invite some other parents so that you can keep a watch and not appear to be intruding.
- Limit attendance through invites only.
- Encourage your teen to plan activities like music, dance and video games in advance. Sometimes alcohol use begins with boredom.
Try the THEIR approach when it come to teenage alcoholism
THEIR stands for Talk .Hear .Educate .Inculcate .Restrict
Talk - Children are initiated into alcohol in most cases due to peer pressure or trends which portray alcohol consumption as fashionable and cool. In the absence of adult guidance it is difficult for teenagers to do away with such pressure and misconceptions. Thus as a parent you should talk to your child , build a comfort zone and make yourself available so that your child can turn to you for advice.
Hear - Hear out your child on issues such as what their peers say, and what pressures they have to deal with in their group being the odd one out, share your experiences and help them deal with pressures.
Educate - Be informed yourself and pass on the right information to your children about the dangerous consequences of teenage alcoholism, underage drinking, drinking and driving etc. It is easier for an informed teenager to ward off external pressure with a logical bent of mind.
Inculcate - As parents to young children it is important to inculcate the right attitude towards alcohol. The best way to do the same is follow it yourself as children emulate parents while developing social attitudes. Always practice moderation, Don’t Drink and drive, Keep away from harmful drugs and in general build on a lot of other interesting activities to have fun. (Every time you talk of enjoying yourself don’t talk of hitting the bar for a drink. Quality time can be spend with family and friends with picnics, trekking, sporting events, camping, road trips, theatre, movies, concerts etc.)
Restrict - Many Counselors and therapists feel that parents should not be over friendly with their kids and totally do away with restrictions. Some amount of curfews and taboos should be enforced so that the youth know their limit.