We want them to find their safe level, without coming to any harm in the process.
Will banning it just push them the other way?
How do we get them to understand that drinking has its dangers?
Alcohol is clearly an adult activity – and teens press for access to the adult domain.
I’d rather my teens didn’t drink at all, but that may be unrealistic.
I fear for her liver, her brain, her virginity.
I fear for what she will do while under the influence of alcohol.
People take risks when they are drunk. They do things they would never do sober.
Vulnerable to peer pressure, there is often a culture of egging each other on – they risk their safety. They do things they would not normally do: sexual activity, damaging property, climbing, stealing, fighting, driving dangerously.
For most parents, there comes a point when you realise that your teen goes to places where alcohol is available. Whether you favour abstinence or learning by experimentation, this might be a good time to make sure your teen knows some things:
How much alcohol is too much alcohol?
Line up a range of drinks (or find a website that can do this for you) to demonstrate how many units of alcohol are in different drinks. Wines can vary enormously in alcoholic content; beers too. Spirits cannot be drunk in the same volume as other drinks. Discuss how much alcohol a body can safely handle.
Make sure your teen knows:
- to eat before drinking.
- and eat while drinking.
- to start the evening with something to quench thirst,
- alternate every drink with a glass of water,
- and finish the evening with a pint of water.
Impress on your teen the importance of looking out for each other if drinking
- know to put into the recovery position anyone who falls asleep while drunk (death my inhaling vomit is all too common).
- nominate a ‘drinking safe-person’ who will not drink and will look out for others in the group.
Finally, if your teen is regularly getting drunk you need to consider why…