Tips for parents to influence teens’ drinking habits
Influencing your teenager’s behaviour may seem like an uphill struggle to a parent, but you do have the power to shape their choices when it comes to difficult issue of teenage drinking.
The mayor of New York city, Michael Bloomberg, has proposed a crackdown on sales of alcohol to try to curtail the city’s problem of alcohol abuse. Bloomberg’s plan has created a public outcry and may seem like an example of extreme lawmaking, but excessive drinking is not just an overseas phenomenon.
In spite of strict laws in Singapore it appears underage drinking is still widespread. According to a report last year by The New Paper teenagers even buy ‘fake’ alcohol at reduced prices and drink it in public before they go clubbing. For many youths, drinking is viewed as a rite of passage but don’t wait for something amiss to happen – by then it could be too late. You can take action by following these steps to prevent your teenager from abusing alcohol:
- Set boundaries — you don’t have to be extremely strict, just firm.
- Get some perspective by talking to other parents about whether or not they allow drinking. (See our Facebook comments in the image below.)
- Lead by example. It’s hard to tell your kid not to get drunk when you or your partner are drinking heavily too.
- Talk with your teenagers if there has been a history of alcoholism in your family — being open with them will encourage teenagers to share their problems with you.
- Give money to your teenager if you suspect them of drinking. Pay for items by credit card or cheque.
- Give alcohol to your children because you believe it’s acceptable to let them drink under your supervision. According to studies done by Jennifer A. Livingston, Maria Testa, Joseph H. Hoffman from Buffalo State University, University of New York and Michael Windle of Emory university, teenagers who were permitted to drink at home reported the heaviest drinking outside.
- Make excuses for your child’s behaviour or else they will not learn the full consequences of their actions.
- Delay in getting professional help.
Finally, if you do discover your teenager is drinking or displaying symptoms of alcohol abuse, remember not to over-react but carefully assess the situation before leaping into action. Sometimes it just requires a timely discussion about the dangers of alcohol to avoid trouble for the whole family. If you want to find out how to recognise the signs of alcohol abuse in your teen, read this article.
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