The objective of this article is to describe a methods for teaching responsible drinking to older adolescence.
By: Susan Adams, M. Ed.
Summary: Young people who do not abstain from alcohol can be taught to drink responsibly. This relates to their attitudes about alcohol and the way they use it. This article describes how to teach safe drinking.
For people who want their children to abstain from alcohol, they must set the example . A few good facts about drinking can be shared such as the percentage of motor vehicle accidents that occur involving alcohol. The facts must have meaning and be believable for young people.
Adolescence who are inclined not to drink, need to be told that they don’t have to do so. They need ammunition for declining in order to resist peer pressure. Drinking is not a universal practice and avoiding it is not shameful. It is not a measure of adulthood or virility, nor does it ease pain or solve problems.
Young people who do choose to drink can be taught to do so safely and responsibly. What makes some drinking safe is the way in which it is used and attitudes about it.
When alcohol is used safely, there is a definite pattern to it. The drink is sipped slowly, consumed with food, used in the company of others in relaxed settings, and has no specific significance. That is, there is no accolade for amount or type of consumption.
The converse is true when alcohol is a problem. It is consumed quickly, without food, and in uncomfortable places. The drinking is attached to guilt, conflict, and ambivalence and drinking is seen as prowess.,
The lessons for young people are plain. If you drink, drink for pleasure and not to show off. Let alcohol be a part of your enjoyment of food, people, and other good things. Don’t drink alone or to calm negative emotions. Don’t admire quantity consumption or get into competitions about it.
For parents: Watch your drinking and see it as your children do. Drink as you would want them to do it.
Start tens off with a drink at home. Make drinking a casual family pleasure and not a secret indulgence.
Explain to teens why people drink. It can make for good fellowship but can be dangerous if used for escape from problems.
Point out the dangers of alcohol in the present. Don’t talk about far-off consequences like illness or later shame. Point out that unwise drinking will culminate in loss of the family car.
You can get with other families of teens and show a film about drinking or hold a group discussion. This may help relieve some peer pressure.
Get closer to your kids. Giving children attention and love does a great deal to ward off problems, including over-drinking.
Get expert help if, in spite of these suggestions, you have a youngster whose drinking becomes a problem.