With the recent court case regarding “Affluenza,” or the wealthy teen with a drinking problem, plus more stories daily about teen drinking, it’s important to review what a parent can do to help curb problem drinking.
First and foremost, it’s important to remain calm when confronting your teen. Explain your concerns and make it clear that your concern comes from a place of love and support. And make sure everyone is sober during this discussion.
Create and Enforce Rules and Consequences
Your teen should understand that drinking alcohol comes with specific consequences. Do not make hollow threats or rules you can’t enforce. Make sure your spouse agrees and is prepared to enforce them.
Explain that your teen will have a lack of privacy as a consequence of using alcohol. Monitor the location, activities and friends of your teen. Routinely check hiding places for alcohol in your home.
Encourage healthy interests and activities
Expose your teen to healthy hobbies and activities, such as team sports, Scouts, and after school clubs.
Discuss potential underlying issues
Drinking can be the result of other problems. Is your child having trouble fitting in? Has there been a recent major change, like a move or divorce, which is causing stress?
It takes a village to raise a child. Teens often don’t listen to parents, but if another authority figure says the same thing, they may be more inclined to listen. Try seeking help from a sports coach, family doctor, therapist, or counselor.