Parents are all tasked with discussing the dangers of alcohol with their children at some point. However, most parents don’t know how to start the conversation or how to make that conversation compelling. Rather than giving an unprepared talk, parents should follow each of these three items in order to help them discuss alcohol with their kids in a comfortable and enlightening environment.
Parents who try to be moralists with their children about alcohol use are going to lose a battle with their children that they can probably never start again. Dishonest parents are the biggest turn-off for kids, and this is especially true when kids know things about their parents’ pasts that basically precludes them from being a moralist about alcohol or drugs.
Parents should level with their kids and give specific examples. Parents can tell their kids the first time they drank alcohol and where it was. Parents should also tell their kids what happened the first time they drank alcohol. Chances are, bad decisions followed. This is not a teaching moment for the kids as much as it is a moment of honesty for the parents. With the playing field level, the parents and kids can have a real conversation on this topic.
Talking with kids about alcohol requires a directness that will make kids slightly uncomfortable. Most kids think that their parents will not be able to have a normal conversation on this subject. As soon as parents show that they are uncomfortable, the kids tend to tune out. Having a direct conversation with kids about alcohol that is no different than the way kids talk to their friends is going to make the conversation more effective.
What To Say When Kids Have Already Had Alcohol
When kids have already tried alcohol, it’s best for parents to be understanding and firm. Having a temper tantrum is not becoming of the duties of a parent, and kids will tune out any parent who instantly goes crazy at the first sign of misbehavior. Parents must recall that their kids already know both parties in this conversation are not perfect.
Parents can voice their disappointment in a concerned and loving way while also noting what could happen if the child continues to drink alcohol. The child needs to understand how things can go downhill fast. While this may not happen, parents should mention things like inpatient programs that may be needed if they continue on a dangerous path. Without this serious part of the conversation, the child will likely not pay attention.
Don’t Stop Talking
Parents cannot just have this conversation with their kids one time. When the parents only have one conversation with their child on this subject, the child will likely let the information go in one ear and out the other. When parents talk to their kids regularly, in a respectful way, the kids will likely open up more and begin to talk.
Parents must be mindful of how to talk to their children about the dangers of using alcohol. No parent or child wants to have inpatient treatment be the answer, and beginning a dialogue early and continuing it often will help to keep the whole family intact.