Talking to Your Teenager About Binge Drinking
Alcohol can cause many dangerous situations for your child. Studies show that children who drink are more likely to be a victim of a violent crime. They have a higher chance of being involved in an auto-related traffic accident, and often suffer drastically in school. As a parent, you have a better chance impacting your child’s drinking habits before they begin to drink and during their preteen years.
Talking to Your Teenager About Binge Drinking is Easier Than You Think
Before your child starts
You may think it is not necessary to address an issue your child doesn’t even have. But the fact is, during their preteen years is the best time, before they begin. If they haven’t already, they will soon begin receiving peer pressure to experiment with alcohol. If they have not heard anything from you regarding alcohol and its effects, they may assume you have no problems with it and that it is okay to use. It has been proven for most kids who have parents that disapprove of drinking and express those feelings to their child, it has an enormous influence on whether or not the child begins drinking.
Alcohol and binge drinking
Hard liquor is becoming more common among kids. There are large numbers of teens and preteens who are participating in binge drinking. Binge drinking is described as consuming five or more drinks of any type alcohol in one setting for boys. Binge drinking for girls is drinking four or more alcoholic beverages in any one setting. These are important times in your child’s life when you need to keep the lines of communication open. When you see signs or even suspect your child is participating in alcoholic activities, you have to address it.
Setting rules and enforcing consequences
When you discover that your child is participating in binge drinking you have to set down rules for them to follow. Let your child know that there will be no chemical use allowed and set a curfew so they cannot stay out late on weekends especially. Beginning with a verbal agreement is the best place to start. Establish some consequences if they are found to be drinking anything alcoholic again. A good consequence for a child that drives is to have them forfeit their keys for a month if found drinking again.
If your child breaks his or her agreement with you and is caught drinking again then things are a bit more serious. This may be an indication they have a more serious issue with alcohol than first thought. If this is the case then the rules and consequences have to get tougher. This time, try a written agreement with your child and have them sign it to promise they will stop all alcohol and drug use. This time, they will be required to earn back privileges such as cell phone use, going to the mall, having the car for recreational purposes, etc. This is also the time to explain the dangers of alcohol use at their age, and if they don’t cease you will have to enter them in a chemical dependency treatment center.
If even after these agreements are set and your child continues to binge drink, you will have one more option. At this point, your child should have only one more chance to prove him or herself. If they do not follow through with ceasing alcohol use you will need to give them the choice of inpatient treatment centers they want to live in to receive help for their addiction.
Communication is your best tool to help prevent your child from becoming a binge drinker. Start early and have open and honest conversations with your child to express the dangers and your feelings regarding alcohol and drugs. Make sure they feel comfortable coming to you if they begin feeling pressure from peers and know that you will help them deal with it.