Tips for Parents Talking to Teens About Underage Drinking

Now that school is back in session for the fall, your kids may be making new friends and attending new classes, which results in new influences in their lives. A growing concern for parents of teenagers is underage drinking. As Edinboro, Pennsylvania DUI attorneys, we have seen the dire consequences that result from underage drinking.

It’s important that you talk to your teen about alcohol use because it is likely to be a temptation at some time in the next few months. Peer pressure is the main reason kids experiment with alcohol. Your teen may not realize the serious consequences that can result from experimenting with alcohol. This is often a difficult subject, but it is a topic that every parent should broach. Here are some tips to make the discussion with your teen less awkward and more successful.

Choose the Right Time

Do not wait until your teen is heading out to a party to discuss alcohol consumption. Your teen is not likely to listen to anything you say at that time because his or her focus is on the party. Instead, find a time when both of you are feeling relaxed and stress-free to discuss underage drinking.

Choose the Right Tone

Keep your conversation relaxed rather than making it sound like a lecture. Yes, you may have some ground rules and strong points you want to get across, but you will not be as successful in getting through to your teen if you put him or her on the defensive.

Start out by asking if your teen thinks underage drinking is a problem in his or her school. This can give your teen the feeling you truly appreciate the situation he or she faces each day when you ask for his or her perspective. Ask how other teens are dealing with the pressure to drink alcohol. Find out if your teen has witnessed any of the negative consequences in other teens who drink alcohol (i.e. lower grades, missing school, suspension, etc.). Discussing the subject in this way helps your teen think about the situation instead of focusing on defending themselves.

Provide Facts

Teens do not necessarily want to hear your opinions because many teens believe their parents’ opinions are outdated. Instead, give your teen real statistics about alcohol consumption. Explain how it can lead to alcoholism and other health issues. Discuss how your teen can lose out on scholarships, a college education, and a good career. Explain how the “high” experienced from drinking alcohol is temporary, but the consequences can have life-long implications.

Discuss Not Drinking

Make the decision not to drink alcohol the smarter choice by providing good reasons not to engage in the activity. Explain about any alcoholism in your family history and how it could impact your teen. Talk to your teen about his or her goals for the future and what could happen if he or she drinks alcohol – especially if your teen chooses to drink and drive.

Discuss ways to handle peer pressure. Brainstorm ideas about what to say and do instead of telling your teen what to do when faced with various situations. Teens are more likely to follow through on their own ideas than to listen to their parents’ guidance.

Set Rules

Start out talking like two adults, but remember you are the parent. At some point, you need to say something like, “I trust you to make good decisions about not drinking, but if you make the wrong decision, it will have consequences.” Discuss what those consequences will be and how you will enforce the rules. Enforce the rules you set so your teen knows you are serious about a serious subject.

Call an Edinboro Pennsylvania DUI Attorney

Contact The Travis Law Firm toll free at (800) 401-2066 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Edinboro DUI attorneys.  If your teenager has been arrested for an alcohol-related offense, let our attorneys work toward a lesser charge or having the charges dropped altogether to protect your child’s future. Do not trust your child’s future to a public defender or submit to the pressure by a prosecutor to accept a plea deal.