Although the legal drinking age in American is 21 years old, many teens indulge in alcohol consumption well before they are legally allowed to do so. Not only does this put them in danger of getting in trouble with law enforcement, but it can also be extremely harmful to their bodies and their minds to be exposed to alcohol at such a young age.
But despite knowing this, many teens still participate in underage drinking—and many parents still struggle with knowing how to effectively discourage their teens from drinking alcohol before they should. If you currently are finding yourself in this situation, here are three ways you can encourage your teens to avoid drinking alcohol.
Communicate With Love And Respect
To really be able to effectively communicate with your teens about anything, including underage drinking, Dr. Steven Dowshen, a contributor to KidsHealth.org, shares that you have to convey feelings of love and respect toward them.
Rather than having all of your communication result in you preaching, threatening, or scaring your teen, try to have your dialogue come from a place of concern and love for your teen. When conversations are begun and built upon in this manner, you’ll have a much better chance of being able to get your messages across clearly and actually feel like your teen has heard you.
Set Clear Rules And Expectations
In conjunction with speaking to your teen with love and respect, you also have to be firm in sharing with them what your rules and expectations are for how they’ll interact with alcohol.
According to DrugFree.org, some of the rules you might want to create could include when your teen is allowed to go out with their friends and how often your teen will check-in with you when they’re out. Additionally, your teen should be well aware of your expectations for how they will behave when you’re not around, like not participating in any drinking or drug use.
Along with these rules and expectations, your teen should also know what the consequences will be if they fail to live up to the set standards that you’ve agreed upon.
Make A Plan For Handling Peer Pressure
Being a teenager is hard. Not only are you trying to find out who you are, but you’re also trying to fit in with your own peer groups. Because of this, many teens fall victim to peer pressure when surrounded by things that might make them uncomfortable, like drugs or alcohol.
To help your teen know how to stand up to these pressures, the Mayo Clinic recommends that you and your teen make a plan for how they’ll handle peer pressure. This could include having ready-made answers to certain questions or suggests that could be hard to decide on in the moment.
If you’re unsure about the best ways to discourage your teen from drinking alcohol, consider using the tips mentioned above to create your own plan for this issue.