Parents have a highly influential role in laying the foundation for their children's future drinking habits, despite the reasonable aversion that many parents have to the idea of their kids drinking alcohol. As a parent, it is important to be aware of the following considerations and to intentionally make constructive choices, as children tend to learn through watching their parent’s actions.
Consideration #1: Frequency and Role of Alcohol
Your children may be getting the wrong message if drinking is involved in every meal or if sports games are always a demand for beer. While these actions may not imply a drinking problem and are not actually wrong, your children may perceive there to be a need for alcohol if drinking is habitual. It may seem normal to have a drink after a difficult day to you, but you are subliminally communicating to your kids that alcohol is the answer to handle stressful situations or events or even uncomfortable relationships. Setting positive examples such as turning to therapy, exercise, natural methods of relaxation, open communication, or prayer can be much more beneficial for your children than pulling out a bottle every night. Children may not need to be sheltered from alcohol, but they should understand that there is a healthy yet fragile framework within which it can be harmless to indulge. The role of the parents is to set up an exemplary and responsible framework for their kids to model.
Consideration #2: Irresponsible drunkenness can demonstrate a lack of judgment
While everyone makes mistakes one on occasion or another, some parents over-indulge not infrequently which can communicate an intensely harmful message to children, saying that their caretaker doesn’t exercise control or proper judgment. Instead, setting an example for your children that they should value principles over cravings can be priceless. Additionally, if the family is enjoying a dinner out and mom drives home after she’s had several drinks, this is sending the message to teens and children that they might be okay doing the same if their friends are drinking and driving. It is often more difficult for younger people to see contextual events differently, which is why they may only remember that nothing bad happened when their parent did it.
Consideration #3: Parental stance on underage consumption
Parents should try to never enable the behavior as the law will certainly not offer your child special treatment. Young people could be disqualified from sports, academic awards, and scholarships in addition to facing the numerous legal consequences. Teenagers must also be informed that underage drinking can wreak havoc on their bodies, which is why the consequences are not likely worth impairing their future health outlook at such a young age.
Consideration #4: Principle before popularity
While participating in social drinking may provide a certain degree of popularity, your teen must consider the principle of the issue first. Although high school is often spent trying to reach the top first in social, athletics, and academic areas, it is imperative to instill in our youth that popularity is not worth the price; and in fact, it can be very unpopular to be sitting in jail after drinking and driving. It’s important to remember, and impress upon your children, that many states have harsh penalties for underage drinking, and even first offense DWI.
Consideration #5: Distorted concepts of being an adult
High school is a chance for adolescents to give adulthood a “trial run”. The positive characteristics of adulthood can be honed and tested; like being more independent, getting a job, learning to drive, or even traveling. These activities should be explored, as they are normal privileges included in being an adult, however, often times teenagers also express interest in participating in activities that may be inappropriate or illegal. However, parents must spend time reasoning with their teenager and should help to set specific expectations based on legality, religion, or personal beliefs to establish a healthy transition for your teen in their process of becoming an adult.
Overall, parents must be careful to act as a positive example of responsible adulthood so as not to taint the perception their teen may have. Parents must be available to help teens prepare their own strong values for the current of peer pressure that they may encounter throughout their adolescent years.