How to talk to your teen about the dangers of alcohol

It’s natural for parents to be concerned about their children’s alcohol use. However, there are ways you can help your teen quit drinking.

How to talk to your teen about the dangers of alcohol
 If you are concerned about your teen’s alcohol use, it’s important to have an open and honest conversation with them.

Alcohol is one of the most often abused substances among South African teenagers, bringing significant health and safety dangers.

Teens experiment with alcohol for a variety of reasons, including the desire to assert independence, feel more carefree, or escape stress, peer pressure, and even boredom. Many teens do so without fully understanding the harmful impacts or health hazards of drinking.

So, what should you do if you discover your teenager is drinking?

Encourage regular communication

Communication with your teen does not always have to feel like you’re giving them the third degree. Maintain your cool, relax. If you want to have a constructive conversation with your teen, try to keep an open mind and listen to what they have to say. This way, your teen is more likely to be responsive.

Pose open-ended questions

Open-ended questions are the types of questions that evoke more than a simple “yes” or “no” response. It will result in a more insightful and productive discussion.

Ask your teen why he or she is interested in drinking. Encourage your adolescent to consider their future, their drinking boundaries, and some of the potential bad repercussions. This could involve being late for practice, doing something stupid or risky, or feeling hungover. It will also provide you with information on what may be causing your teen’s drinking. You may then provide strategies for better controlling those motivations.

Make it clear to your child that they are being heard

Actively listen and reflect back to what you hear – either literally or just the sentiment. For example, you could say, “I’m hearing you’re feeling overwhelmed, and you think drinking will help you relax. Is that correct?” Discuss the negative impacts of alcohol, as well as what this means for mental and physical health, safety, and making sound decisions.

Show compassion and empathy

Make it clear to your teenager that you understand the adolescent years can be difficult. Recognise that everyone struggles from time to time, but drinking is not a practical or healthy method to deal with challenges. Make it clear to your teen that they can rely on you.

Be aware of links in the family chain

If your family has a history of addiction, your child is at a significantly higher risk of developing a problem. Be aware of the increased risk and address it with your teen on a frequent basis, just as you would with any illness.

Establish clear expectations

Explain that you do not approve of underage drinking and that you do not expect them to do so, even if they are with friends who do. Discuss and reach an agreement on the consequences. Involve your teen in a discussion about what should happen if they do consume alcohol and what will happen as a result. Make certain that you can enforce these rules and that your teen knows why you’ve established them.

Assist your teen in comprehending the legal ramifications

It is unlawful to consume alcohol if you are under the age of 18. Explain why this law is in place and why you do not agree with breaking it. Explain why drinking is so different for a teen than an adult. The teen brain develops long into one’s 20s, and drinking has a major negative impact on its development.

Keep an eye on how your teen is handling the situation

If your child continues to drink or appears to be suffering, this is a sign that he or she may require more assistance or professional therapy. Make an effort to get professional help.