Being a teenager is hard. There’s school, sports, clubs, teachers and friends. All these things play a role in who we grow up to become. But friends play one of the most vital roles.
According to teens, peer pressure is one of the most common reasons they try alcohol. So, how do you prepare your teen for those high-pressure situations?
Teens need to make up their minds that they do not want to drink before alcohol enters the situation. Once they find themselves surrounded by drinking, it becomes harder to say no.
One of the key things you can do when you talk to your teen about alcohol is to practice ‘what if’ scenarios.
These are simple and effective exercises. They give your teen a chance to rehearse how to respond if someone offered them a drink. You can also apply them to other uncomfortable situations like parties with alcohol.
Use the tips below to guide your child to take a stand and make their own decision about alcohol use.
What If Exercises
What would you do if you were at a party and someone offered you a drink?
Allow your teen the opportunity to brainstorm some easy ways to say no.
Your teen could ask for a soda instead, explain that they don’t want to get in trouble or say they don’t like alcohol.
What would you do if someone who had been drinking tried to drive you home?
Give your teen ways to get out of this life-threatening situation.
As your teen practices this situation, let them know that if they ever need a safe ride home they can call you.
What would you do if you were at a friend’s house and someone suggested getting into the liquor cabinet?
Your teen has a chance to influence their friends in this situation. They could be the leader that suggests another activity instead of drinking.
Make the conversation useful
Don’t use scare tactics
Trying to scare your teen into avoiding alcohol will not help them in the long run. This will only make them want to ignore your message.
Use music and movies as conversation starters
If you and your teen watch a movie with underage drinking, use it as a learning opportunity. You can use the situation in the film to practice a ‘what if’ scenario.
This will encourage your teen to consider how media shows underage drinking. Ask your teen if they think that it’s realistic or not.
It’s important that you are one of the first people that your teen talks about alcohol with. By talking to them about underage drinking, they’ll be more prepared to face peer pressure.