6 Tips for Parents to Help Prevent Underage Alcohol & Drug Abuse
It is difficult as parents to consistently monitor what our teens are doing throughout the day, every day. And it has definitely gotten increasingly more difficult to expect kids to refrain from underage abuse of alcohol and drugs without being properly armed with the right social tools. As parents, we are always trying to insulate our kids from these evils, but it is definitely an uphill battle.
Here are a 6 tips for parents to help create a plan that will help prevent underage drinking and/or drug abuse in their household.
Step 1: Discuss Expectations – It is important that you constantly speak with your children about what your expectations are regarding their behavior toward drugs and alcohol, and then work as closely with them to help meet those expectations.
Step 2: Be Open, or Be Shutout – Although it is much easier said than done, keep your communication open about alcohol use. An overreaction to bad news about alcohol use by your, or other, teens in your community, and you’re likely not to get the full story the next time a similar subject is brought up. The more your teen is willing to talk with you about alcohol, the better the chances that he or she will not drink.
Step 3: Self Esteem is Critical – Helping your children develop a strong sense of self-esteem, as well as the necessary social skills to withstand peer pressure, will help them avoid situations where they feel compelled to drink. Always let them know they are loved and valued.
Step 4: Spend Time with Your Children – Spend as much time with your children as you can. Let them know that you are aware of alcohol use within the school community, and that you know that they may be encouraged to drink alcohol by their peers. However, always be encouraging and implore them to make smart decisions.
Step 5: Make a Pledge – Make an alcohol-free pledge with your children throughout the duration of their high school years and constantly remind them about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse, including the lethal effect of binge drinking. Suggest other ways for them to deal with stress and emotional problems and provide support for them throughout their challenges.
Step 6: Set Consequences – It’s important that kids understand that every decision they make has consequences. Don’t allow them to think they that are “getting away” with behavior that your family has deemed as unacceptable.
According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, more than 6 million young people reported that they have engaged in binge drinking. It is not hard to see why, when you see how teenagers are bombarded with advertising and subliminal messaging. When a teenager sees a beer ad, where the men and women are dancing and having a great time – and then the screen pans to a shot of their beers prominently displayed, and being consumed by these people who are having the times of their lives, it is difficult for them to forget that and focus on how bad alcohol is “supposed” to be for their health.
So, it is our job to consistently use the tools like the 6 tips for parents above to help our teenagers to abstain from alcohol and drug abuse.
If you think that your teen may have a problem with alcohol or drug abuse, please don’t hesitate to contact us for help right now. (305) 273-3744 Ext. 7232