With New Year’s Upon Us, How Can I Talk to My Teen About Alcohol?

New Year’s is a holiday that sparks a lot of anxiety for parents, as holiday celebrations mean easier access to substances for teens. Most parents want to have that conversation with their kids on the dangerous effects of alcohol and drug abuse, but they aren’t quite sure what to say. As a subject that’s difficult to discuss, you still don’t want to skip it. Previous research has shown that parents who express their view on drugs – in particular, that they don’t want their kids using them – are more likely to warrant more favorable responses from their teens when the time comes that they’re approached with it. As a parent, you want to make sure that you’re telling your teen exactly what they need to make an informed decision – so what do you say?

Your Teen Mag gives some excellent pointers:

  • Have a discussion and set expectations but don’t lecture your teen
  • Express steps for being safe if they do decide to drink – because the reality is that while we cannot control what our teens decide to do, we can suggest ways they can be safe if they do move forward with it
  • Emphasize just how dangerous it is to drive under the influence or to be in the car with someone who is under the influence

Adolescents and teens are likely going to face experimentation and peer pressure, but maintaining a respectful, open dialogue with your teen is most likely going to give you the most favorable outcomes. As your teen is in a stage where their brain is still developing, they want explanations – not commands – for why they shouldn’t drink or use substances. Make it a collaborative effort and they’ll be much more likely to refrain from use (or at least take safety precautions if they do).

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.