Ways of Preventing Teen Drinking
Preventing teen drinking is an incredibly important endeavor, since statistics from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicate that 24 percent of people in that age bracket are drinking alcohol and 15 percent of them are binge drinking. Underage drinking is extremely dangerous for a variety of reasons, including health consequences and the strong possibility of physical violence or drunk driving being connected with this behavior. It can create a dependence on alcohol that could plague a person’s life for decades to come and have disastrous consequences on future relationships, finances, and career possibilities. With so much riding on teens making the decision not to drink alcohol, what can parents do to nudge them in the right direction?First of all, parents need to be thinking about this issue long before it is an imminent danger. From a young age, they should make clear rules with their children when it comes to the consumption of alcohol. If parents drink themselves, they need to restrict children’s access and make them understand that while an occasional drink may be acceptable, large amounts of alcohol are not. Furthermore, drinking outside the home among other young people is illegal and dangerous. Long before kids hit their teen years, they need to know that their parents do not support a decision for them to drink alcohol. While an occasional lecture or laying down of the rules can help, especially in the early years before it is likely to be a concern, as the kids get older it is more and more important to keep talking about alcohol in normal daily conversation.Parents need to be willing to bring up the consequences of drinking with their kids on a regular basis without coming across as overly harsh or judgmental. They just need to make their kids aware of the dangers to an extent that when they are presented with a situation in which drinking is involved, they will understand the consequences for themselves and think very hard before agreeing to drink. One excellent way of keeping the conversation going is by reading the newspaper and watching TV together. Incidents related to drinking are likely to come up often, and each one is an opportunity to gently remind younger kids and teens that drinking alcohol can lead to many unfortunate situations. Parental influence might not seem to be a huge factor in preventing teen drinking, especially since teenagers are often in the midst of rebelling. Nonetheless, if a strong foundation has been laid, it is more likely that they will ultimately decide to respect their parents’ wishes on this all-important matter.
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