This is designed to help you agree boundaries on alcohol with your child and is a good chance to sit down together and talk about your rules in relation to alcohol. Being open and engaging about your shared expectations will help your child feel included in the decision-making process.
Considering the risks associated with underage drinking should be at the forefront of every parent’s mind. The parent has a particularly strong influence on a child’s behaviour and there is an opportunity to use this influence to change the behaviour and attitude of young people in relation to alcohol consumption. Below are some practical prevention measures for delaying teenage drinking.
Encourage sports, hobbies, clubs and social activities that keep your children active and fulfilled. If they’re active in activities then they’re not bored and engaging in potentially risky behaviours.
Establish routines within your house, like always eating dinner together at the table. This allows opportunities for conversation and allows you to find out what is going on in their lives.
Good communication provides opportunities to work through challenging issues your child might encounter and it is the key to identifying, understanding and resolving problems. You might not always agree with what they have to say but it is important that your children know that their opinions matter.
Listen without judgement. Don’t interrupt them when they are speaking. This demonstrates your genuine interest in their point of view and gives you the opportunity to expect the same respect when it is your turn to speak.
Young people need boundaries. Consistent rules and expectations for behaviour tell young people what is expected of them. Make sure your rules in relation to alcohol are known to your teenagers and that they are aware of the consequences for breaking those rules.
What you do may influence your child as much as what you say. It may be useful to think about your own relationship with alcohol and what messages it could be sending to your child.
This is about knowing where your children are and who they are with at all times. The less unsupervised free time your teenagers have the less likely they are to start drinking.