How to Prevent Underage Drinking and Alcoholism
Let’s face it, as much as you’d like to think that your teenager will never ever drink alcohol, chances are that they may have already experimented before!
You’re never going to know what your child does when you’re not around and finding out may even cause them to rebel against you. I mean, when you were in high school or college, did you want your parent’s watching your every move?
However, all is not lost. As a parent, you have the ability to prevent underage drinking and the possibility of your child becoming an alcoholic later in life – that’s if you know how to give them the message in the right way.
Here are some of the dangers of underage drinking:
- It increases the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD)
- It puts your loved one at risk of teenage pregnancy
- It promotes early sexual activity
- It increases the likelihood that they could be involved in or become the victim of violence
- The risk of becoming involved in a motor vehicle accident becomes higher
- They may begin suffer academic problems at school or university
- It increases their chances of becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs later in life
As a parent, it’s your responsibility to try and prevent your child from using alcohol, even if your words seem to be going in one ear and out the other. It’s important that you talk to your children about the dangers of underage drinking and what abstinence can do for them.
Apart from that, as I mentioned a few paragraphs ago, knowing how to carry the message on to your teenager and leading by example is just as important as preventing underage drinking and alcoholism.
How to Speak to Your Child About the Dangers of Underage Drinking
Here are some helpful guidelines on how you can speak to your child about the dangers of underage drinking:
- Let them know that it’s totally unacceptable to drink alcohol at their age. Your teenager has to know that drinking is wrong and also what the repercussions will be if they are caught – and make sure that you stick with this disciplinary action.
- Tell them how dangerous alcohol is and what the consequences are should they attempt to drink, for example, explain what the health risks of becoming an alcoholic are and the possibility of death in alcohol overdoses.
- Make sure that they know that underage drinking is illegal and that they could face legal action by police if they are ever caught. Here in South Africa, the legal drinking age is 18.
- Tell them that they can have fun without alcohol. There are lots of activities that are enjoyable that doesn’t require the need to drink, for example, going to the movies or even a theme park.
- Lead from the front and make sure that you never ever drink in front of your children and never speak about the days when you drank or partied hard. It will only give your teenager a type of attitude that “if you could do it back then, why can’t I do it now?”
It’s important that you lay down the foundation early as it will help to prevent problems in future. Alcohol is an extremely dangerous narcotic substance and it’s important that your loved ones know that.
Just because something is legal and easily accessible, doesn’t always make it safe!
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