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Today in our #TuesdayBlog: Talking To Your Teens

Talking To Your Teens

Do you remember what it was like being a teen? Good times, huh? Now that you’re a parent, the teen years are a time to become a good listener and keep the lines of communication open. It’s important now more than ever before that you keep setting a good example. Although your kids may not appear to be listening to what you say, there have been studies that show that teens are definitely influenced by their parent’s words.

Lecturing to your teens about the facts on alcohol and using different scare tactics on them can make teens shut down. It’s important to be clear with your teen and tell them you don’t want them to drink.

As parents, we need to remember that teens want to be liked and accepted by their friends. Talk to them about solutions without sounding threatening. Provide examples of what they can say at a party when someone offers them a drink. Discuss what if someone they’re supposed to ride home with is drinking. Brainstorm together and be sure to let your teen know they can always call or text you and you will pick them up, with no punishment or long lecture.

What other options can parents use?

As parents, we should remember that we are role models, even to teens. Setting a positive example by drinking responsibly is our responsibility. We should not use alcohol as a way to relieve stress, and of course we should never drive after drinking. It would be wise to have regular chats with your kids that will help to promote having them make good decisions when alcohol is present.

Despite our best efforts, parents should watch for problems and set rules within the family. Ask your kids to be honest with you if they do try alcohol, but don’t make it seem threatening as they may hide the truth. If you think they have been drinking and haven’t told you, don’t ignore it.

Know where your kids are and who they’re with and know how to get in touch with your child, especially if they don’t have a cell phone yet. If they do have a cell phone, ensure they have their phone with them and turned on. You may even want to have numbers for their friends or the number of the home they’re visiting, especially for the younger teens. 

If your teen drives to the party, tell them drinking any amount of alcohol and driving is not okay, not just because it’s illegal. You want them home safely. Consider having a verbal contract that says all members of your family will not drink and drive. Make it a common discussion, including if you go to any event where alcohol is served.

As a parent of a teen, there are other things you can do. This includes talking to your kids about breathalyzers. Make them a common discussion and part of your family. Not Your Child Corp recommends making it the new normal when alcohol is involved. Using them yourself shows you also follow the same rules as you want them to follow. Considering how easy handheld breathalyzers are to use, this should become a no-brainer. 


Scott Corner Blogs

Scott Marshall has spent over 30 years promoting road safety in many jurisdictions. He has been a road safety journalist since 2005. Scott was also an on-air judge on the Discovery Network's Canada's Worst Driver during their first 3 seasons on the air. Not YourChildCorp. is proud to have Scott @Safedriver as a frequent contributor, his insights are irreplaceable.

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