If you have children who are in high school or even junior high school, you should go to great lengths to educate them about the dangers of drinking while underage. It is almost a guarantee that your teen will be peer pressured into a situation that involves alcohol. It is easy for youngsters to get their hands on booze as well as other drugs. However, if you properly prepare your teens for these situations, they will be able to stay true to themselves and the values that you have instilled in them.
The Realistic Risks
Most teens think that drinking alcohol is a harmless activity. They imagine themselves downing beers, shots and mixed drinks, enjoying the company of their friends and possibly hooking up with another inebriated partygoer. Your job is to make it clear that such a vision is merely that – a vision and an empty one at that. Explain that drinking alcohol while underage carries some very harsh risks. If necessary, resort to an example from your youth where drinking alcohol led to an unfortunate incident. Then rattle off a list of things that could go wrong so that your teen has a healthy fear of the ramifications of underage drinking.
It might help to formulate a hypothetical situation. Ask your children how they will get home if they have gotten drunk at a friend’s place or at a party. Paint a picture in which your teen and his or her friends are drunk yet everyone needs to get home to meet curfew. Ask your teens how they would handle such a delicate situation. Let them answer and then ask them if getting into such a situation is worth the hassle in the first place. Then build on that hypothetical by asking them how they would feel if someone called the police to report their underage drinking. Alternatively, ask your child to ponder what life would be like if another partygoer took advantage of him or her while inebriated. Make it clear that it is extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, to control one’s actions, speech and thoughts after consuming alcohol. This is especially true for teens whose bodies are not yet fully mature. Alcohol is especially potent for those who lack considerable body mass.
It might help to print out some news articles about teens who have been injured, hospitalized or even died as a result of alcohol poisoning. This will help to hammer home the point that alcohol truly is a poison that can destroy the body. Provide your child with articles about alcoholics who have had problems with their internal organs because of their alcoholism. If your teens fully understand the wide range of problems associated with drinking alcohol, especially as minors, they will be less likely to give in to peer pressure. Your teens will also be less inclined to drink in excess as they mature into adulthood.
The most important part of this conversation is your ability to communicate that mom and dad are there for support. While your teens might not have any questions or concerns about underage drinking at the time of your conversation, they may in the future. Tell them that you will answer any questions that they have regarding alcohol and drugs. Let them know that there will be far fewer repercussions for calling you up to admit drunkenness and asking for a ride home than the alternative of not calling and getting into trouble. Your children will understand that you would rather not be put in that position yet they should have no reservations about reaching out for help in the event that they succumb to peer pressure or consume a spiked drink.