Alcohol Treatment – Learn to Talk to Your Teen First
Parents are usually unaware when their children start experimenting with alcohol, and children as young as 10 years old have developed dangerous drinking habits that may eventually require alcohol treatment. Treatment for alcoholism is a bumpy road for any teenager, as well as a hard process for parents who have to be particularly tough yet supportive of their child during this difficult part of their lives. It’s important to keep in mind that ‘just drinking’ may be better than consuming other illicit substances, but if left unchecked can become a physical, and mental, dependence for certain people. There are a number of ways parents can ensure that their teen is aware of the powerful effects of alcohol, and it’s more effective to open up the conversation in the household rather than outright banning your teen from drinking (which will never work!) or pretending that they never will. The ‘talk’ doesn’t have to be awkward, and there are some guidelines parents should keep in mind before they decide to sit down with their teen.
Always be a role model
A few glasses of wine or a beer or two in the evening is a stress reliever for many adults after a long day at work. There is absolutely nothing wrong with controlled, responsible drinking at home, or a few drinks with friends over the weekend. But, if you are frequently drinking large amounts of alcohol, your teen is going to think its okay to do it too. Before you talk with your teen have a look at your own drinking habits, and then decide what expectations you have of your child. Ask your teen what they think about your own drinking habits, and you may be surprised. This is an effective icebreaker and a way of opening up the conversation and allows your teen to feel respected and included in the dialogue. If you don’t drink at all, or are actively against drinking, it won’t be of much use to force your child to be the same. Tell them your reasons, and let them decide for themselves.
It’s not about you
Teenagers are in the process of figuring out who they are, and so demanding of them a particular lifestyle will inevitably frustrate them. It’s really important to find out a little more about what your child is getting up to when they socialize, but try not to pry too much. You can probably get a pretty good idea if you’re connected with your teen’s social media, but it may come across as invasive if you actively search for them on the internet. Be sure to tell them that, whatever they like to do on the weekend, you will always be available for them if they need help. They shouldn’t feel afraid to call you if they get themselves into any alcohol-related trouble.
You may not be able to get your teen to stop drinking at parties, or sneaking into bars. It is essential to always remember how endlessly experimental teenagers will be. The most important part of your talk should be about safety. It’s an unfortunate truth that most road deaths are caused by drunk drivers, but don’t be afraid to make a point of this to your teenager. They are young and can be a little careless, but they would never want to spend these exciting years behind bars or to not experience them at all. Remind them to never drink and drive, and encourage them to use public transport freely and offer a ride whenever you can.