When it comes to their teenagers drinking, many parents have many different viewpoints on the matter. When they speak with one another, they are typically a bit more conservative. But when it comes to their kids? It can vary just a bit. After all, we want our children to make smart choices, and sometimes that comes along with giving them leeway. Or, some parents might feel the exact opposite. There are a few general rules, exceptions you have to make, and also places to be firm. We don’t condone illegal, underage drinking. However, we understand that as parents, you are in the unique situation where you have to set ground rules, but also make your children feel free to reach out if they need you.
Teenagers Drinking: Rules, exceptions, and safety
Opening a casual dialogue, but don’t be too pushy
While it might seem that all teenagers are drinking on their nights away from home, studies actually show that 2 in 3 don’t partake at all. Due to stereotypes and the idea that given the chance, kids will run wild, many parents just assume. Therefore, they try to find ways to set certain ideals for their children. By doing so, they might end up making the teenager more curious than they. So, unless your child is openly admitting to drinking, showing curiosity, or asking questions— keep it casual on the topic. Tell them if they ever need a ride, you’ll give it. No questions asked if they call. Tell them if they have questions, ask. Un-taboo the topic, but don’t popularize it.
If you push one thing, push not driving
While statistics show that a majority of teenagers are not drinking; you never know where your kid falls into that equation. So, as we’ve said, don’t popularize the topic. But, make one thing clear— drinking and driving will not be tolerated. Furthermore, riding with a drunk driver is also off-limits. If they ever mention alcohol, if they’re going somewhere overnight, or even if they openly say they’re going to a party, make that one little thing clear:
We don’t condone teenage drinking, we hope you’ll be smart, but if you find yourself in need of a ride: call and you have immunity. Your teenagers need to feel safe with you, and like they can rely on you to keep your promises to them. The teenage years are tough, and keeping them close during that time is even tougher.
You’re allowed to parent how you see fit
One of the common misconceptions about teenagers drinking, is that you can’t do anything to stop it. To an extent, this may be true. Every child is different, and they will respond to your instruction in any number of ways. However, if you feel it extremely necessary to try and circumvent the problem— this is your right as a parent. Maybe your family has a history of alcoholism, maybe you previously received a DUI, maybe you lost a brother to drunk driving…
Whatever your reasons, if you truly want your child to listen to your reasoning, you need to be up front
There’s a fear you have? Share it. As we’ve said, your teenager need to feel safe with you; to feel as if they can rely on you to tell the truth. Open the dialogue, don’t be angry at their response, and provide yours. Understand that you may not be able to stop them from making a decision when you’re not looking. But, you might be able to influence that decision by being open and honest with them.