You suspect that your child is drinking, but you’re not sure. If you want to protect your child before they do something really stupid, here are some ideas that other parents have tried that actually worked.
Signs That There Is A Problem
While you might not know, for certain, that there’s a problem, there are a few ways you can tease it out of your child. Some experts believe that drinking problems are more likely if you notice several symptoms or “clusters of behavior” rather than just one.
For example, if you notice mood changes, it might be any number of things. But, mood changes, excessive irritability, school problems like poor attendance and low grades, rebellion against family rules, a radical change in friends, and a “nothing matters” attitude, all indicate there is a problem.
At the very least, it’s cause for concern and you should simply ask your child why things are changing so rapidly and dramatically.
If they get defensive, there’s something they’re hiding from you, and you must figure out what it is. Pay attention to whether your child experiences mental or cognitive problems, memory lapses, or seems “out of it” more often than not.
Educating Your Child
Educating your child usually does the trick, if you do it properly. Teaching children about the negative consequences, as well as the positive ones (for not drinking) usually works. For example, you could show them that Indianapolis car accidents lawyers, like Ckflaw.com, deal with alcohol-related car crashes and deaths all the time, and the financial and emotional damage it does.
Alcohol-induced crashes, and fatalities resulting from both alcohol and non-alcohol-related car crashes, remains the number one cause of death among teenagers.
Take your child to a rehab center, or arrange for those in a local rehab clinic to tell their story to your son or daughter. This is incredibly powerful, yet very simple. Why? Because we’re all hardwired to learn from stories. It “sneaks” by our conscious mind, and it’s a lot more interesting than dry facts.
So, while you could pepper your teen with statistics and dry numbers, it’s unlikely to make much of a difference. Most teens aren’t highly analytical people. And, even if they are, a real story told by someone sitting right next to them often has a much more powerful impact.
It humanizes it, and shows them reality-based consequences, instead of abstract consequences (e.g. numbers on a page).
One of the hardest things for you to do, as a parent, is to admit that you might need help with your child. But, getting professional help doesn’t have to be a painful experience. Go to your child’s guidance counselor, and ask for recommendations for professional psychotherapists or psychologists that specialize in underage drinking.
You may also want to speak with other parents you know that have been through this before.
Finally, don’t forget that the Internet is a wealth of information. You can find almost any self-help guide or source material online, usually for free.
Morgan Sharpe is a speaker at schools where she discusses the dangers of alcohol with teens. Open discussion on the subject is key from both school and home, and she encourages parents to open a dialogue with their kids through her articles.