As early as middle school youth are faced with the pressure to try alcohol. By high school it is all around them. So how can you ensure you teen is prepared to deal with this high pressure situation? Teens need to make up their mind that they do not want to drink before they find themselves surrounded by peers who are encouraging them to make a bad decision.
We asked teens if people at their school drink, and their answers in the video above reveal how high pressure these situations can be on a daily basis.
One of the key things you can do when you talk to your teen about alcohol is to practice ‘what if’ scenarios. These simple exercises will give your teen a chance to rehearse how they would respond if someone offered them a drink or if they found themselves in an uncomfortable situation. Use the tips below to guide your child to take a stand and make their own decision about alcohol use.
‘What if’ scenarios examples
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 offer an excuse about not liking 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 in the basement?
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 are watching a movie with your teen and you see underage drinking happening, use this as an opportunity to practice a ‘what if’ scenario. This will encourage your teen to think critically and to consider how media may portray teen drinking in an unrealistic manner.