Your child can learn to resist alcohol or anything else he or she may feel pressured into. Let him or her know that the best way to say “no” is to be assertive—that is, say no and mean it.
Resist the pressure to drink.
Say no and let them know you mean it.
· Stand up straight.
· Make eye contact.
· Say how you feel.
· Don’t make excuses.
· Stand up for yourself.
Don’t Support Teen Drinking. Your attitudes and behavior toward teen drinking also influence your child. Avoid making jokes about underage drinking or drunkenness, or otherwise showing acceptance of teen alcohol use. Never serve alcohol to your child’s underage friends. Research shows that kids whose parents or friends’ parents provide alcohol for teen get-togethers are more likely to engage in heavier drinking, to drink more often, and to get into traffic crashes. Remember, too, that in almost every State it is illegal to provide alcohol to minors who are not family members.
Help Your Child Build Healthy Friendships. If your child’s friends use alcohol, your child is more likely to drink too. So it makes sense to try to encourage your young teen to develop friendships with kids who do not drink and who are otherwise healthy influences on your child. A good first step is to simply get to know your child’s friends better. You can then invite the kids you feel good about to family get-togethers and outings and find other ways to encourage your child to spend time with those teens. Also, talk directly with your child about the qualities in a friend that really count, such as trustworthiness and kindness, rather than popularity or a “cool” style. When you disapprove of one of your child’s friends, the situation can be tougher to handle. While it may be tempting to simply forbid your child to see that friend, such a move may make your child even more determined to hang out with him or her. Instead, you might try pointing out your reservations about the friend in a caring, supportive way. You can also limit your child’s time with that friend through your family rules, such as how after-school time can be spent or how late your child can stay out in the evening.
Encourage Healthy Alternatives to Alcohol. One reason kids drink is to beat boredom. So it makes sense to encourage your child to participate in supervised after-school and weekend activities that are challenging and fun. According to a recent survey of preteens, the availability of enjoyable, alcohol-free activities is a big reason for deciding not to use alcohol. If your community doesn’t offer many supervised activities, consider getting together with other parents and teens to help create some. Start by asking your child and other kids what they want to do, because they will be most likely to participate in activities that truly interest them. Find out whether your church, school, or community organization can help you sponsor a project.
CTCADA offers both adolescent intervention and treatment programs. Education, individual counseling, family therapy, group counseling and referral to other resources are all part of a comprehensive effort to prevent or intervene in youth alcohol and drug abuse. Call us at 254-690-4455!