Parenting a teenager is hard. Really hard. There is no manual, no instruction book to follow. Every teen is different, every family is different and if you are raising more than one child you know that even siblings are vastly different.
These days there are so many different topics that you, as a parent, may feel like you have to worry about with your teens. Who are is my child talking to online? Are they spending too much time on their phone? Are they being bullied? Is my child being a bully? Who are they riding with? What are they doing after school? Who are they dating? Am I questioning them too much? Am I asking the right questions? Am I pushing them away?
There are a lot of important things to think about as a parent. It is important that you have tough conversations with your teen about these issues. One of the important things to talk about is alcohol. Safe and Sober’s research shows that the number one reason teens chose not to drink alcohol is because they do not want to disappoint their parents. If you are like most parents, you do not recognize the influence you still have with your teenagers. It is common for many parents to avoid the conversation about alcohol, mostly because their teen is a “good kid”. We know that every teen tries new things, even if they know they shouldn’t.
Here are some common myths parents believe are reasons they don’t need to talk with their teens about alcohol:
They make good grades; therefore, they must make good choices.
Often parents of teens who are high achievers, whether that be at school, with sports or within a job feel they are grounded enough and so focused on those aspects of their life they would never get caught up in alcohol or drugs. This unfortunately is false. You cannot define a teen that could be drinking by their successes.
I want to be their friend.
It is totally normal for parents to want their kids to like them; however that can go too far. Wanting to be the “cool” or “popular” parent often leads to making compromising decisions in order to stay friendly with your teens. They need you to set boundaries, hold them accountable and stir them in the right direction when it comes to alcohol.
They know how I feel about alcohol, we don’t need to talk about it.
Even if it seems very obvious to you that alcohol use by your teens will not tolerated, your teen needs to hear you say it. They need to know the boundaries when it comes to alcohol, use and the consequences for not following those rules.
We talked about it once, we don’t need to again.
The conversation with your teen about alcohol is not a one-time event. It needs to be an ongoing dialogue where you are frequently checking in with your teen about how they doing and making sure the agreements you set up are still relevant and being upheld.
So, realize you need to talk with your teen about alcohol? We can help. Continue reading on our website for tips on starting the conversation with your teen about alcohol.