Top 10 tips for preventing underage drinking
Talking to your teen about alcohol is important, but it is not the only way to prevent underage drinking. In fact, you need to be doing more than just telling your teen to say “no”; you need to take a holistic approach by being informative, taking action and guiding good choices.
10 ways to prevent underage drinking
- Teach ways to say “no” – In theory, it is easy to just say “no,” but in practice, it is difficult. Teach your teen ways to avoid alcohol and how to say “no.” Volunteer to role-play or present real-life scenarios that may come up and help them construct ways to say “no” in different circumstances.
- Get involved – If your teen’s friends are drinking, your teen is more likely to do the same. Support healthy friendships by getting to know your teen’s friends and encouraging your teen to invite them over to your home.
- Get your teen involved – Boredom is one reason many teens choose to drink; combat boredom by helping your teen get involved in new activities, volunteer or get a part-time job.
- Promote safety – Make sure your teen knows to never get in a car with a driver who has been drinking. Ask your teen to call you for a ride or for permission to stay overnight if they don’t have a safe ride home. Safety first.
- Don’t be a social host – Serving teens alcohol, even under your supervision, sends the message that you are supportive of underage drinking and can also get you into legal trouble. Learn about social hosting and demonstrate to your teen that you do not approve of underage drinking, even with adult supervision.
- Don’t make your teen a bartender – Avoid asking your teen to open a wine bottle, bring you a beer or pour you a drink. You should make your home the easiest (and safest) place for your teen to avoid alcohol.
- Explain yourself – Instead of lecturing or threatening, tell your teen why you don’t support underage drinking. Give some facts and statistics; it may open their eyes to things they didn’t fully understand.
- Be a good listener – When your teen opens up about alcohol, listen and ask questions to prompt your teen to keep talking. It can be good for teens to hear their thoughts out loud and it is good for you to understand the struggles your teen may be facing with peer pressure.
- Build a strong, positive relationship – A strong relationship with you will make it easier for your teen to turn to you with problems and to make good choices because they will want to live up to your expectations. A positive relationship allows you to “Be the Wall” between your teen and alcohol.
- Be a role model – Children and teens learn through imitation. Be the person you would be happy to see your teen imitate!
Do more than tell your teen to say “no.” Tell them why, show them how and lead by example.
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