Being a parent is a tough job. All parents want to protect their children and raise them to be independent, healthy, productive, and successful. When our children enter their teenage years, the risks and temptations that are dangerous are surrounding them. One of these temptations and all-too-prevalent activities is drinking alcohol. Our kids see others do it, they see it on TV and in the movies, they may even see it at home, and they will likely be presented with a situation among friends where alcohol is available.
Understandably, parents have the concern of alcohol use when their teenagers are out with friends or at sleepovers. The questions that then arise are, “How do we, as parents, be proactive in ensuring that our children know the dangers of alcohol use? How can we answer their questions openly and honestly, while also ensuring they understand that our goal is to protect them and we are looking out for their best interests?” It is a difficult balancing act, but one that must be broached by parents.
Advice for Parents
Believe it or not, the things that you say, the actions that you take, and how you behave all have a significant impact on your children. Those children that are educated on the dangers of drugs and alcohol use through candid conversations in the family and with parents increase the chances that they will stay away from engaging in these activities. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence estimates that this number can be as high as 50% of kids.
Therefore, it is highly advised that when your children get older, you spend the time chatting with them about these very real, very important issues. Tell them about where you are coming from and how you love and care for them, which is why they must understand the seriousness that comes along with drinking and doing drugs. Not only is talking with them important, but listening to them is also equally valuable to the conversation. It is worthwhile to think over some of the questions your children may have for you, as well as how you feel these questions are best answered so that your conversation is meaningful and helpful.
Common questions your kids may ask you and important points to consider include:
- Wondering about your younger years and if you tried drugs or alcohol when you were their age
- Younger children, 11 or 12, for instance, may not be old enough to outright say you did, but explain it is unwise to do so. When they are older (18+), sharing experiences could be a bonding time, as well as very helpful to your cause.
- Asking about your alcohol use as an adult and why it is okay for you but not them
- You can highlight the physiological effects alcohol can have on developing bodies and brains, which is why there are age restrictions on drinking. The Foundation for a Drug-Free World explains that when younger children engage in drinking, the toxicity of the alcohol has long-term effects damaging their brains, which can affect all aspects of their fine motor skills, cognitive abilities, and even balance and coordination for the duration of their lives.
- Asking if they can drink as long as it is in your home
- Drinking underage is never a good idea or safe for children, even when it is at your home. Studies show that kids who drink at home are also more likely to drink away from home.
Drug And Alcohol Resources In Tennessee
As a parent, you cannot monitor your children at all times and make their decisions on their behalf. They are going to be on their own at times, and it is important that when they are, they go out equipped with the information and understanding of their choices and risks before they leave the home. If you set clear boundaries and rules and take the time to discuss and listen to your children, you may increase the chances that they will make the right choices when they are without you.
When younger individuals engage in drinking or drugs, even trying them, they have a higher risk of developing addiction problems and detrimental behaviors as they age. Should you or a loved one be struggling with and addiction to either drugs or alcohol, it is important you seek help. A medical detox and addiction treatment center alternative like Discovery Place has the programs that are specifically designed to support and assist those who want to kick their addictions. We have a beautiful center in the idyllic rolling hills of Tennessee.
Discovery Place’s Tennessee addiction treatment center alternative team is here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call our Tennessee detox treatment center anytime, day or night, at 1-800-725-0922.