Do you know that your son/daughter could be drinking alcohol as young as he/she is? Many parents wouldn’t admit to this as they are always monitoring their kids’ behaviors. But do you know what kids do when they go out to parties and social events? If you don’t, here’s the truth.
The average age that many kids in the United States take their first alcoholic drink is about 14. The reasons why many teens indulge in drinking at such a tender age are varied. Some of the most prominent ones include peer pressure, rebellion, stress, and also trying to exercise freedom.
Of the listed causes, poor parenting is the leading cause of early drinking habits in kids. Although some of these causes are inevitable, most of them can be prevented by you as the parent. Some of the ways of curbing underage drinking include the following:
1. Build trust with your kids
Teens are at a fragile stage of their lives where they require close attention. As a parent, you need always to show concern to the issues that they raise. By being honest with them at all times, they will learn to respect you. Also, attending to their needs always without providing excuses is crucial in building trust.
When there’s a rapport between you and the kids, they are likely to heed to your advice when you caution them against drinking.
Understand the reasons that cause underage drinking
Do you listen to your kid’s complaints about how they are feeling, or you always shrug them off? Many teens indulge in early drinking as they try to escape certain feelings, especially when they feel alone. If you constantly check on how your kids are doing, you will be able to understand their emotional changes and respond accordingly. Many of them will indulge in binge drinking as they celebrate achievements.
Also, sorrow, stress, and depression is a likely cause of underage drinking. It is up to you as a parent to understand what exactly is causing the behavioral changes in your son/daughter that include drinking.
2. Discuss the consequences with the kid
Teens are people who are unaware of the implications of their decisions and actions. You need to make them understand what would happen if the indulged in drinking at an early age. Explain to them how they could be dismissed from school, get imprisoned, get pregnant while drunk, lose a scholarship, and even die.
The brains of kids are not adapted to handling alcohol, and this is why binge drinking is especially dangerous for their health. You need to explain to them all these consequences. For this to be effective, you can consult an expert who is conversant with handling kids who have got into underage drinking and ask them to advise your kids.
If your kids have not yet begun indulging in underage drinking, it is advisable to counsel them on the dangers of getting into the practice. This will help them to handle the peer pressure that comes from mates.
3. Provide a good living environment
Are you aware of how traumatic experiences can shape your kid’s behavior? Children are very sensitive to what happens around them. If the parents are constantly arguing, and there is tension around the home, the kids will react in a bid to counteract the harsh environment.
One of the most common ways to overcome the conditions will be through engaging in irresponsible drinking. Such an occurrence is preventable. As parents, you need to keep away the kids from arguments with the partner. Give them the most conducive environment that they need to live and they will have no reason to engage in drinking.
4. Learn the signs
A responsible parent always notes changes in the behavior of their children. Is your son/daughter looking depressed? Have the grades suddenly dropped without any reasonable cause? Or is your son/daughter unusually irritable? These are some of the warning signs of kids who have immersed themselves in early drinking.
When you start seeing them, be sure that the next thing that you are going to note is the sudden disappearance of bottles of beer that you had kept in the fridge. Stay conscious about the kid’s behavior because this is the only way that you can realize when they indulge in early drinking. Once you note it, conduct your investigations as to the underlying cause and rectify it as quickly as possible.
5. Be the role model
There is actually nothing wrong with controlled, responsible drinking. Alcohol use is allowed for individuals above 21 years of age in the United States. For this reason, you are allowed to drink even as a parent. However, there needs to be caution in your drinking habits. You need to be a role model for them.
If you occasionally drink excess alcohol, they are also likely to adopt that from you. Be a responsible parent that they can look up to. This is through drinking responsibly and avoid becoming disorderly when you are in the house. If you can’t control your drinking habits, take your beer while in the bedroom and away from the kids.
Also, avoid coming home at the dead of night while drunk. Do exactly what you would like your children to copy, and they will not let you down.
6. Get engaging activities for the kids
Most teens engage in binge drinking when they are free. On that note, it is imperative to check what your kids do during their leisure time.
Physically engaging activities such as playing soccer, hiking, and jogging are some of the ways to ensure that your kids are exhausted and unwilling to participate in underage drinking. Choose sports that keep your kids busy. Computer games encourage boredom that may result in drinking. Choose outdoor sports over allowing them to stay in the house all day.
In conclusion, the baton is on you as the parent to ensure that your kid doesn’t engage in underage drinking. Remember that things have changed and these days children start drinking and engaging in sexual relations earlier than you ever thought.
On that light, monitor their ways and always teach them the values of living an upright life. You also need to walk the talk by being a responsible parent. Your kids copy most of your behaviors, and if they indulge in something bad, you are probably the cause. Therefore, take the initiative and implement the above-stated tips. You also need to stop drinking if you do it occasionally to free up time and spend it together with the kids. They’ll appreciate every moment.