For teens, a common reason children’s emergency care is needed is is drinking. Parents often understand the risks of underage drinking but aren’t sure how to start a conversation about alcohol. However, talking to your teen about alcohol is easier than you think. These tips will help.
When you have a conversation with your teen about alcohol , make sure it really is that—a conversation. Give your teen clear boundaries about your expectations that he or she won’t drink, but also listen to his or concerns. You may learn about the pressure your teen is under to drink or worries that he or she has about turning down alcohol in front of friends. By being open to listening, you can help your teen build the skills he or she will need to handle social situations in which alcohol is present.
Skip Scare Tactics
As a parent, what scares you the most about underage drinking is sure to be the need for children’s emergency care or stays in the children’s hospital. However, using statistics and horror stories as a way to convince your teen not to drink is an ineffective strategy. Teens view themselves as invincible, so you won’t get through to them with threats about what might happen. Instead, focus on the positive benefits of avoiding alcohol, like better health, better grades, and more freedom.
If you suspect that your teen has been drinking, then you may be tempted to have an angry confrontation with him or her instead of a conversation. Resist the urge to confront or accuse your teen about past behavior. Calmly lay out your ground rules and expectations about alcohol and encourage questions. This approach will make your teen more likely to call you if he or she encounters trouble with drinking in a social situation.
Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas is the leading neonatal and pediatric hospital in the region, providing a range of medical services for children from birth through their teen years. For a referral to one of our pediatric specialists, please call (702) 731-5437.