3 Questions You Should Ask Your Teen About Alcohol Today
We all know that the teen years are challenging. Peers may experiment with risky, or illegal, behavior and teens often feel pressured to do things they know they shouldn’t do.
But what can parents do about it?
Sometimes it’s easier to do nothing at all.
Conversations about alcohol are uncomfortable so many parents choose to avoid it and just hope for the best.
But teens need parents who are involved and who positively influence them. Sometimes the words of a loving and caring adult are enough to help a teen make good decisions the first time.
But where do you start?
The #1 most important thing is to talk about it, even if you don’t know what to say. They’ll appreciate that you care and they value your influence (even if they won’t admit it).
Here are some questions to get started:
1. Do You Know Friends Who Are Drinking Underage? This is an unassuming question that gets the ball rolling. Usually your teen will give an honest answer about who is drinking and who is not. It opens the door to non-judgemental dialogue and helps you establish yourself as a safe person that they can talk to about teen life and social pressure.
2. Have You Been Drinking Alcohol? It’s important to ask this question without implying that you’ll be upset if the answer is, “Yes.” During the teen years, it’s normal to want to experiment. If the answer is, “Yes,” you can simply respond by saying, “Thanks for sharing that with me.” You can follow up by asking more specifics or by asking if they have ever felt out of control or felt social pressure to do activities that aren’t comfortable for them. If your teen is abusing substances and you don’t know where to start, see our FREE GUIDE called 5 Tips For Parents of Substance Abusing Teens
3. How Can I Support You? Before telling them what to do, or not do, let your teen know that you are there to support them through any challenge they face. They may have questions, be in trouble themselves, or feel stuck. Having a caring adult offer support helps them know they are not alone and that they have a resource if they need help.
If you have a conversation, make sure to thank your teen for trusting you enough to talk about this hard topic. Then share your values. Teens will resist being lectured, but they appreciate hearing your values.
Don’t be afraid to be a positive influence on your teen; they are already being influenced, sometimes negatively, by their peers and the positive influence of a caring adult goes a long way.
Learn more about preventing teenage drug and alcohol use here.
If you have any questions, we are just a phone call away.