Parenting isn’t an easy job but by establishing early and open communication with your child, you can influence good decision making when it comes to alcohol use.
Take heart, moms and dads- most teenagers do not use drugs and alcohol. The Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration reports there are single-digit percentages for teens who smoke, drink, and use marijuana. But as their parent and role model, you can help to keep these numbers low.
When most teens abstain from drinking, it’s often credited to the open conversations and gentle discipline of their parents. Alcohol is a major part of American culture and it can affect all users differently. Parenting styles and understanding your influence on your child’s alcohol use play a big role in their behavior.
Most young adults believe their parents should have a say in whether or not they drink alcohol. Parenting styles play a major role in communicating with your teen. Authoritarian parents typically exhibit high control and disciple but low warmth and responsiveness while Permissive parenting leans toward high warmth and responsiveness, but low control and discipline. Neglectful parents exert neither high control nor warmth and Authoritative parents aim to exert both high discipline and high responsiveness and warmth.
Teens and young adults best respond to Authoritative parenting.
The combination of support and discipline from authoritative parenting helps teens approach problem solving and emotional expression in a health way- without the need for alcohol misuse.
In response to the age-old question of allowing a child a drink at home and under supervision, experts warn that adolescents who have been permitted to drink at home also had the steepest escalation into drinking & drinking heavily outside the home. By establishing rules against drinking and exhibiting responsible drinking behavior themselves, parents can help prevent alcohol use.
Culture and race sometimes play a major role in alcohol use, tolerance, and addiction. Additionally, some people just have a higher or lower tolerance to alcohol. Impulsivity is another key factor attributed to genetics and exemplified in drinking behavior. Being aware of your own drinking behavior and tendencies will help you understand your child’s development.
Teens do listen to their parents. Be consistent and speak with authority when discussing the issue of alcohol. If you are drinking, model responsible alcohol consumption. Other ways to help include:
- Talk often and start talking early with children and teens about your concerns and their concerns.
- Establish rules and policies early on- be consistent.
- Communicate with other parents about where kids are and what they are doing.
- Be involved in your community to promote conversation about underage drinking.
- Educate yourself on your state’s laws about alcohol and minors.
- Never provide alcohol to someone else’s child.
Children are typically more compliant when it comes to parental influence, only experimenting in resistance as they enter teenhood and young adulthood. Encourage early, open, and respectful dialogue with your kids to influence good lifelong decision making.
For more information on preventing teen alcohol use visit https://www.niaaa.nih.gov .