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Talking to your teen about alcohol

Alcohol And Sex Advice For Teens
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It may be illegal for under-18s to buy alcohol but that doesn’t stop some of them from getting their hands on it. The earlier you start to speak to your kids about the effects and risks of drinking, the less likely they’ll be to experiment. Studies have shown that kids whose parents have discussed alcohol with them properly are more likely to develop a sensible attitude to drinking.

Answer questions

Your teen may have lots of questions about alcohol and its effects. Giving honest answers encourages them to come to you with any further questions they might have. Don’t try to cover the whole topic in one go though. Answer their question and wait for the next one; this will give your teen time to process the information.

Don’t lecture

Treat the topic as a conversation rather than a lecture and your kids will be much more likely to take on board what you say. Listen as well as talk and you’ll encourage your teen to open up to you about her attitude towards alcohol. Be aware that if you don’t talk to your kids about alcohol then someone else will, so if you want to discourage underage drinking then you need to give them a reason to come to you, rather than less reliable sources, for information and advice.

Give facts

Talking about teens about alcoholThe legal drinking age is 18 for a reason. Before then kids are still developing and alcohol can be damaging to their health and wellbeing. A 2008 survey of 15 and 16-year olds in the north of England showed that teenagers who drink alcohol are 85% more likely to be involved in violence, either as a perpetrator or victim. Young drinkers are also 58% more likely to suffer a serious injury and twice as likely to have unprotected sex.

Underage drinking has also been linked to poor grades, truancy and expulsion from school. If your teen understands that your reasons for not wanting her to drink go further than ‘because I said so’ then she’ll be less likely to experiment with alcohol from a young age.

Tell them why people drink

Many adults drink alcohol and so it’s important to address this fact before launching into a list of reasons why kids shouldn’t. Teenagers are aware of adults drinking and so are unlikely to listen to parents when they say it’s bad and they shouldn’t do it. When speaking to your teen, acknowledge the pleasures that alcohol can bring but reinforce the idea that drinking is only good in moderation and outline the potential risks involved.

Offer excuses

Peer pressure can lead to teenagers trying alcohol, so offer yours a few get out clauses that she can use if her friends offer her a drink. Replies such as “no thanks, I’m allergic” or “thanks but my parents will find out and they’ll kill me!” are good ways to say no without inviting further persuasion.

Lead by example

Most children’s first experiences of alcohol come from seeing parents or grandparents enjoying a drink in the home. Set a good example by drinking moderately at home and never letting your children see you drunk.

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About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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