My Underage Teen is Drinking, What Should I Do?
Is your underage teen drinking alcohol, but you’re not sure what to do? Do you want to offer them help but feel afraid you might make the situation worse?
Many teens drink alcohol as a way to cope with their adolescent life. Often times, they don’t understand the consequences their actions could lead to.
Teens who are drinking alcohol want and need help, but it’s important to approach them the correct way.
If you are not sure what to do when your teen is drinking, then take a look at the steps we recommend you take.
Understand Their Situation
Teens are easily susceptible to alcohol use with the constant pressure they face on a daily basis.
Coping with the stress of fitting in at school, close friendships with other teens who drink, a recent move to another town, the transition from middle school to high school, or dealing with the effect of a family divorce are some of the issues your teen could be facing that is causing them to drink.
Keep an open mind and don’t belittle the struggles your teen goes through. Taking the time to understand why your teen is drinking will allow you to relate to their situation more personally.
Talk and Offer Them Help
To start discussing underage drinking with your teen, choose a time and place where both you and your teen are relaxed and comfortable.
Don’t worry about covering everything on the agenda right away, as this can be overwhelming and too much in one sitting. Rather, make it a point to talk and follow up with them on a consistent basis. This will not only have a more positive impact on your teen, but it will show your teen how much you care about them.
Also, don’t overreact. Your teen is in a vulnerable state and overreacting can cause them to lash out and rebel further. Stay calm and collected.
Some important topics to talk about include:
- Ask What They Think About Alcohol – Getting to know your teen’s view on alcohol is a great way to understand their knowledge and thoughts. This will also help them get involved and engaged right away in the conversation.
- Ask Why They Decided to Drink – Find out what is the reason they turned to drinking and determine what you can do to help. Remember, don’t belittle their struggle and don’t overreact. Try to relate personally to the challenges they face and recognize them as real issues.
- Explain the Consequences of Drinking – Discuss the risk of alcohol and debunk any myths that they might believe. This is a good time to go in-depth with what your teen said they thought about alcohol and what the real truth is. If there is a family history with alcoholism, be honest. Explain to your teen that they may be more vulnerable to develop a drinking problem.
- Tell Them You Are Here to Help – Develop a plan of action for your teen to stop drinking and let them know you are here to help with their alcohol treatment. Come up with scenarios that could happen and talk through what the best course of action is. Reassure them that you will help them through their alcohol treatment.
- Prepare For Questions – During the talk, your teen may ask if you ever drank alcohol when underage. Again, be honest. If you have, share an example of a negative consequence that resulted in your underage drinking.
Seek Additional Help
If your underage teen is drinking and nothing you do seems to help, it’s time to get additional help.
The teen years are a vulnerable stage and it can be difficult to handle your teens underage drinking by yourself. Learn more about our prevention program here.
Here at Arbor Place, we specialize in alcohol treatment and we are ready to provide you and your teen with professional help. Contact us for more information.