Ways to delay teenage drinking

Research shows that the younger a person is when they start to drink regularly, the greater their risk of alcohol-related problem slater in life. By highlighting the short term effects of getting drunk, such as being sexually assaulted or robbed, plus the embarrassment of looking a fool in front of their mates, you can help delay the age that teenagers start drinking and the amount they consume. This is more effective than just saying ‘don’t’.

These tips should help:

  • Encourage sports, hobbies, clubs and social activities that keep your kids active and fulfilled. Teenagers cite boredom and hanging around with nothing to do as one reason for drinking.
  • Establish routines, like mealtimes, that mean you can spend some time together and to talk to each other. This helps your child to feel they can come to you if they have a problem.
  • Make sure you know the facts and laws about alcohol and can talk in a balanced and constructive way about the pros and cons of drinking. Talk and listen to your teenager. It is important that they hear your views and that you hear theirs.
  • Use everyday opportunities, for example a storyline in a TV programme, as a prompt. Make sure the ground rules are clear, discuss them with all family members, and be clear about what is allowed and not allowed.
  • Have consequences for breaking rules and enforce them such as stopping their allowance or grounding them.
  • If your teenager is going to a party, drop them off and pick them up or book a taxi. Agree the time they will be leaving the party. Your kids will hate it, but always check sleepover and party plans – ring other parents and check who’s in charge.
  • Check where they’re going and who they’re with, and always make sure they’ve got a fully charged mobile with them.
  • Be careful where you leave alcohol in the house. Know how much you have and check it regularly. If you are away for the night it is unfair to your teenagers to leave them in a situation where they have access to a large supply of drink.
  • Supervise parties at home and always serve food.
  • Be careful how invitations and photos are posted on social media sites and ensure that there is adult supervision of parties in friends’ homes.

If you have any questions regarding information on this site, please do contact kate@alcoholeducationtrust.org

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