Understanding your Influence
Parents are the single most important influence on children’s decision to drink, yet many parents do not fully understand the extent of their influence. That’s why it’s important to continue maintaining an open line of communication with your teen by talking with them every day, celebrating their achievements and accomplishments, and encouraging smart choices. Most parents already have begun this through a lasting relationship built upon trust, reliability and honesty. Your teen needs and wants a positive relationship with you. You can be his or her most important
Teens are often very concerned about being accepted by their peers. That’s why peer pressure can play a major role in the decisions teens make. While teens grow more independent and increasingly focused on their own lifestyle and culture, parents often become uncertain about their role in their teenager’s life.
Peer Pressure can be Positive
However, you can help your teen understand that the decisions he or she makes should be well-informed and healthy. Understand that peer pressure is real but can be a positive influence. Goal setting and self-direction, together with friends who support similar ideals, can help provide a good environment for your teen. For parents, the need to communicate openly is even greater when the topic is personal. As teens will say, their parents are the greatest influence on their lives and decisions.
Communicating with your Teen
Open, two-way communication is particularly important when talking about the use of alcohol. Your teen needs to know that you strongly believe that an underage person should not drink alcohol under any circumstance–at a party, with other peers or adults, or alone. This also means not consuming alcohol even if parents of friends or older siblings provide it while in the security of their homes. Social host laws abound across the country and can lead to serious consequences for everyone involved. Ask your son or daughter if he or she has been in situations where underage drinking occurred. If so, ask how he or she handled the situation. Together, explore options for what your teen could do if in that position again–or better yet, to anticipate when that situation might occur and then make other plans.
Prevention Strategies to Share with your Teen
- Find out in advance whether there will be parental supervision at a party.
- Decide with a friend, in advance, not to drink so you don’t feel alone.
- Coordinate reliable transportation (you, mom or dad) so you don’t have to rely on someone else when you feel you need to leave a party.
- Take non-alcohol drinks to a party for yourself and others who choose not to drink.
- Plan activities (rent movies, play games or plan another fun activity that engages you and your friends).
- Leave if you feel uncomfortable.
- Decide not to go and plan a fun activity that won’t involve drinking alcohol.
Source: Let’s Keep Talking