The very notion of a child or a teenager being admitted into one of the UK’s residential rehab for alcoholics is the worst nightmare of every parent. Thankfully, it is an extremely rare scenario as even the most dynamic teenage years, it’s not common for things to spiral so out of control. Nevertheless, habits are formed during adolescence and can and often will have a big impact on later adult life, emphasising the importance of awareness from an early age.
Contrary to what many people believe, there is a lot parents can do to actually help their teenage kids make the right choices when it comes to alcohol consumption. It’s true that many things in life will be out of their control, but others are still within the reach of parental care and control. Of course, it is usually very hard to strike the right balance between looking out for your kids and trying to control them to an extent that they naturally rebel. However, a strategic approach has the potential to build mutual respect that can work for both of you.
So, with this idea in mind, here is a short overview of a few tips for parents dealing with the subject of teenage alcohol consumption and abuse:
1 – Establish Curfews
First of all, it is a very good idea to consider carefully the kinds of curfews you’d like to establish. The reason is that with younger teenagers especially, it is easier to set curfews that will never change, as opposed to changing and swapping the rules on an on-going basis in accordance with what is going on. It is possible to make the odd exception of the rule here and there, but in general curfews should be set in stone and rigorously upheld.
2 – Wait for Them to Come Home
It is also a very good idea to wait for your children to come home after an evening out, in order to have a chance to positively and proactively interact with them. This will not only give you an exact impression of what they might have been up to, but the very idea that you will be waiting for them to come home will encourage them to avoid doing things that will get them in trouble.
3 – Let Them Know Your Expectations
A parent cannot truly expect their child or teenager to read their mind and know precisely what they expect. To the contrary in fact, parents will more often than not find that their kids’ ideas in regard to behaviour and expectations are drastically different from their own. As such, it only makes perfect sense to talk to your kids openly about what exactly you expect of them and how they should behave. And of course, you need to also clarify the consequences when your fair expectations haven’t been met.
4 – Talk Openly to Them
Instead of trying your best to catch your kids in the act, it will be far more effective and proactive if you bring the conversation out in the open. If you as a parent suspect they have fallen into harmful habits or might do so in the very near future, it makes sense to talk to them openly about it as opposed to putting the issue to one side. It’s always possible that their attitude to the subject of alcohol is considerably more mature than you have expected, making it much easier to deal with.
5 – Be Their Example
Quite unsurprisingly, it’s crucial to lead by example in regard to the decisions you yourself as a parent make and how you consume alcohol. You will not be able to expect a teenager to listen and follow your advice if you are doing the exact opposite yourself. Likewise, it is not realistic to expect your kids never to try or experiment with alcohol, meaning it is much better if you adopt a sensible and honest approach to the subject.
6 – Verify Their Plans
It’s also a good idea to occasionally check and verify that what they say they are doing and where they say they’re going is in fact the truth of the matter. If you do that, you should also ensure that you let them know that you will be verifying their plans, just so that they don’t feel as if you’re sneaking behind their back. They will have nothing to worry about if they’re being honest with you and if not, you might find this to be a useful way of steering them in a more positive direction.
7 – Look for Advice
Last but not least, if it is clear that your child is suffering in any way due to alcohol abuse, don’t hesitate to contact the professionals for some advice and assessment. It’s very likely it will turn out to be nothing, but it is always a good idea to nip all problems of this kind in the bud when and where possible.