Seventy-two percent of teens have consumed alcohol by the end of their high school term, and 37 percent of them have tried it by the time they’re in eighth grade. Studies show that the earlier a person starts with alcohol, the more likely it is for them to start abusing alcohol. Once anyone hits addiction, it’s a long road back to sobriety.
There are strategies you can implement into the daily routine of your house to prevent your teen from developing an addiction to alcohol. Here are four good tips to get you started.
Talking with your teenager can be difficult. During their teen years, kids are looking for freedom. Their priorities are their friends, not their parents. Sometimes parents are even shut out in the growth and development process. That doesn’t mean you should stay out of your child’s life.
Be proactive when communicating with your teen. Even if your communication attempts aren’t always well received, ask questions. Find out about the school day. Show that you care. Be proactive, be involved, and communicate with your teen. This is a great step toward keeping them away from alcohol.
Keep Track of Your Teen
Remember, your teen is still not a full-grown adult. You need to keep an eye out for where your teen goes and with whom he or she spends time. Make sure you know if anyone—and who!—will be supervising. Coordinate with the parents of your child’s friends. Know what they’re up to.
By keeping tabs, you’re doing two things. First, you’re showing an interest in your child’s life. It may not seem like it, but this has meaning. Secondly, you’re making sure you know what kind of social situations your teen may be facing. You can monitor your teen’s behavior and activities this way. Is your teen staying out late and breaking rules with some friends? Do you feel confident in the communication you have with other parents?
If there are some checks and balances in place, it’s less likely that your child will get into trouble with alcohol.
Treat Your Teen with Respect, Like an Adult
Even though you have a teenager and you still have to keep tabs on him or her, you can’t treat your teen like a young child. Respect your teen, just as you would an adult. By treating your teen like an adult, you’ll keep lines of communication open. Teens often become reclusive if they feel like they’re being spoken down to and not respected.
This can be hard for some parents, as they feel they need to be authoritative. But you can still be respectful while being the parent. Aggravating your teen with disrespect can ignite bouts of rebellion.
Lead By Example
This is the most important tip. Parents must lead by example. It can’t be a “do as I say, not as I do” scenario. If you don’t want your child to abuse drugs and alcohol, then you shouldn’t either. If you abuse alcohol every night, your teen is going to think that’s OK. Don’t let this happen. Communicate with your teen and treat him or her with respect; you’ll be the example your teen needs to see.
Be a role model in your house. Your actions speak more loudly than your lectures on drugs and alcohol. Even if your teen isn’t talking to you as much, he or she is still watching you.
As a parent, you have a lot of clout with your teen. You can make a difference and help guide your child to a life without alcohol abuse. That’s the best route to go. But if something does go astray, an alcohol treatment center like Prominence Treatment Center can help with recovery and get your teen’s life back on track.