Talking to your teen about alcohol is so important for helping them establish a healthy relationship with alcohol as they get older. Especially if they will be leaving for college soon. Having early and frequent discussions is important. Set the right tone before you begin your discussion. Have resources available for them to use. Let them ask questions and be honest about your own experiences. And finally, keep checking in and keeping the lines of communication open with them. The way your family approaches discussions about alcohol can have a big impact on your teenager’s relationship with drinking.
Talking to Your Teen About Alcohol: Where to Start
Set the Right Tone
When talking to your teen about alcohol, it’s important to set the right tone. Teens don’t respond well when they feel like they’re being lectured. They may rebel or shut down on you. Instead, casually approach the topic as if you’re simply sitting down for a discussion with them. It should be a back and forth talk, not you speaking and them listening the entire time.
Have Resources Available
Before you begin talking to your teen about alcohol, have some resources available. There are plenty of places you can go to get more information about teens and drinking. Have a list of websites and books that your teenager can look at on their own time. It’s a good idea to also give them other adults that they can talk to about drinking if they’re uncomfortable talking with you. You could offer to let them speak to a counselor or a family member or friend.
Let Them Ask Questions
When talking to your teen about alcohol, let them ask plenty of questions. It’s important to give them honest answers. If they ask about your own experiences as a teenager or college student, be honest. Even though it might feel embarrassing to discuss your past with them, they’ll trust you more if you tell them about your own life. If you don’t know the answer to their questions, look at alcohol information resources and get back to them.
Keep Checking In
Finally, the most important thing about talking to your teen about alcohol is to keep the conversation ongoing. Check-in with them periodically and let them know that you’re there if they ever have questions or concerns. You might need to keep up the conversation for many years. It’s important to refresh the conversation again if they are heading off to college soon.
Talking to your teen about alcohol might seem a little daunting, but it’s important. The way you approach drinking will directly impact the kind of relationship that your teenager will have with alcohol. It’s important to set the tone of the conversation as an actual conversation and not a lecture. Have resources available for them that are age-appropriate. Let them ask plenty of questions and be honest about your own experiences. And finally, keep the lines of communication open for their whole life. It’s important to always be a haven for your child if they are struggling with alcohol-related issues.