How To Prevent Teenage Drinking
Teenage alcohol statistics is scary: every year about 5000 people between 13 and 21 die from alcohol related issues. This does not include injuries, damage to health, violence acts, sexual assaults and psychological consequences, unwanted pregnancies, following unsuccessful carriers and failures in family life resulting from teenage alcohol abuse. Don’t assume that your child is safe from alcohol, that’s a big mistake which may be too late to correct if you don’t act now. Below it a list of strategies that will hopefully help you eliminate causes of teenage drinking and prevent your teenagers from alcohol abuse. Besides contacting anti-alcohol organizations (which in most cases means not prevention but teenage alcoholism treatment), there are things your can do on your own, the earlier the better. Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Students Against Drunk Driving are the most powerful organizations, you can read about some organizations here.
- Never ever serve as a drinking behavior model for your child. Never let your teen see your drinking or drunk. Children are like sponges: they absorb all they see and hear around and then happily reproduce and it’s not their fault - they are just learning.
Form negative attitude towards drinking from early childhood. I remember my mother saying that an extremely unpleasant, waggling, dirty unshaved man with uncombed hair and red face we saw in the street was drunk, he had been drinking wine or beer, and drinking people are like that. Another small small example. What is the first association with “stinky’ fro a little kid? Right, it’s poo. What I also learned about drunk men from my parents is that they are stinky and we specified above what exactly is stinky in a kid’s mind, so this link became very strong and is still working. You may do it your own way, just make sure that alcohol means bad.
- Know your child’s friends and their parents Make sure they won’t have negative impact.
Enroll your kids or teenage in extracurricular activities. Find out about his or her interests and aptitudes, stimulate and develop them. A busy and interested child or teenager is a happy one having no time for foolish things.
Work together with teachers to implement anti-drinking programs and classes at school.
Never let even the seeds of the belief that drinking can be beneficial be planted in your kid’s head. Children often see a parent having a drink or two, explaining it “Daddy’s tied”, “Mommy’s doctor prescribed in to her”, “Daddy’s getting a treatment”. You’ll have really tough times explaining that alcohol is not beneficial if it helps Mommy and Daddy “cure”.
It’s a mistake to tell children that children should not drink and adults can. Nearly every teenager considers him or herself a grown up, with all the applying privileges (and few responsibilities, as a rule).
- If your little child sees your drunk, explain that you don’t enjoy this.
Expose the dangers of alcoholism and alcoholic intoxication for health. Explain the destructive impact of alcohol on body organs, brain and mental abilities, as well as potential damage to your teenagers’ future children. The latter mostly concerns girls because women don’t produce ovocytes but carry the whole supply in the ovarians from the very birth. The more they drink the more the permanent damage to ovocytes. Show the pictures and stories of children with birth defects and disabilities born from drinking parents. Explain that it’s for a lifetime.
- Inform you teen about the consequences of dunk behaviour: accidents, sexual assaults, violence.
- Explain negative impact of drinking on one’s public image: credibility, career, job opportunities.
- Explain how alcohol changes a person’s behavior. You child may be totally unaware of it: a drunk person feels a superman, without knowing how stupid and ugly he or she looks and behaves. Show that to your child, not on your own example, of course - you can find plenty of videos on the net, take at least some use from the all the dirt found on the web. Tell your own drunk stories about thing your would never had done if your were sober. Don’t be ashamed, such compensations will only enforce the trust between your and your child. This is more effective that just listing facts about teenage alcoholism or telling about other’s experiences.
- Explain the dangers of drunk driving.
Whenever you see a positive image of alcohol consumption promoted on TV or elsewhere, discuss it with your child and explain downsides: sickness, hangover, depression and others.
Make your child feel loved and trusted from early childhood, maintain friendly and loving atmosphere in your family. Primordial causes of teenage alcoholism most often are found not in the society but inside the family. Children from problem families are several times more likely to start drinking underage. Besides alcohol issues, there may be a lot of other things concerning your child you need to know.
- Train your child to follow the schedule from early years, like rising, eating, going for a walk or visiting fiends, going to bed. Set lime limits for coming home in the evening.
- Demythologize the hype about the so-called benefits of alcohol for health. All the “benefits” of red wine are found in grapes and there is not need to take alcohol to take advantage of any of them, explain that. Your teenage has read that moderate consumption of alcohol helps prevent atherosclerosis and stroke? Explain that it’s not a wise idea, the same as burning the house in order to drive away mice. Teach him or her to eat a healthy diet and do sports rather than use such barbaric methods to clean blood vessels with alcohol.
- Whenever you see an underage being sold alcohol - report that incident. Law enforcement is an important part of teenage alcoholism prevention. Who knows, maybe someone is trying to sell your own teenager alcohol across the town. Or will be trying some day…