Talking to Your Teen:

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Getting through to teens isn't easy, but believe it or not, they are listening! Here are some tips to get your message through:

  • Make it a dialogue, not a lecture.

Talk with your teen, not at them. Ask them what they think about alcohol use, and hear them out. Then explain your thoughts and reasoning.

  • Be prepared to answer questions.

"Because I told you so" doesn't cut it when it come to teens. Learn the facts about teens and alcohol use so you can explain your no-alcohol policy, and they can understand why it's in their best interest as well. 

Research has shown that parents are the #1 influence in teens' lives. So talk to them regularly about alcohol. It may not seem like it sometimes...but they are listening!

  • Talk to them often.

You shouldn't plan for just a one-time, sit-down talk. This is a conversation you should have often, especially before times they may be exposed to drinking situations, such as parties, prom, and other get-togethers. And it doesn't have to be a deep discussion every time...just a quick reminder of your expectations.

  • Be clear on your expectations.

Make it clear that you expect zero alcohol use, and that you expect them to be honest with you.

  • Be firm on your rules.

There should be no compromises when it come to alcohol use and teens. While you should be reasonable and hear them out, remember you're still the parent and this isn't a negotiation.

  • Be consistent on enforcement.

Making exceptions on special occasions or if they are at home will only open the door for them to rationalize breaking the rules in other scenarios. Not to mention that it's illegal and unhealthy, no matter what the circumstances!

  • Make a plan together to handle peer pressure situations.

Undoubtedly, your teen will be in a situation where alcohol is offered to them. Make a plan together on how to handle those situations that you're both comfortable with. Brainstorm ideas in different scenarios, so your teen is prepared to deal with them ahead of time and equipped with tools to handle peer pressure.

  • Let them know they can come to you.

Let your teen know that if they find themselves in a situation involving alcohol, they can come to you for help without fear. Reassure them that your goal is to keep them safe, not to punish them.