The holiday season brings colder weather and time off of work and school. For teens on winter break, getting together with friends for holiday parties is pretty common. These parties, although fun and a good way for teens to catch up with old friends, are often filled with underage binge drinking and other unhealthy, illicit activities. Knowing whether or not your teen is engaging in underage drinking during the holiday season can be tricky. Teens know how to cover these things up. However, it’s important for you as a parent to have a talk with your teen about potential drinking during the holiday season.
Talking with your teen about drinking during the holiday season
Explaining to your teen about the dangers of underage drinking can be frustrating. Many teens will roll their eyes and refuse to listen to you. But they need to hear about these dangers from you. On an average December day, more than 11,000 teens in the United States, aged 12 to 17, will use alcohol for the first time. Some of these young adults will not make it to the New Year, because almost 400 teens under the age 21 die from alcohol-related causes every month, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Here are some tips for making this conversation easier on you and your teen:
- Listen, don’t lecture: Once you tell your teen stats and the consequences of drinking underage (advanced aging, legal consequences, alcohol poisoning, etc.), make sure you listen to what they have to say. They may defend their actions, or tell you that they honestly have no interest in drinking. If what they say offends you, don’t yell at them. They need your calm guidance, not an angry lecturer.
- Agree on a safe word and exit plan: Safe words allow your teen to call you at a party that they would rather not be at anymore, without being embarrassed that they called their parents to come pick them up. Creating an exit plan beforehand can get them out of a party they don’t want to be at swiftly and without any danger.
- Talk to them about peer pressure: Let them know what they don’t need to follow what their friends are doing.
- Ask your child if they could have a party at your house: Instead of worrying about what your child is doing elsewhere, have their hang out with their friends right under your nose. That way, you can make sure she’s not engaging in underage drinking.
Solstice can help
If your child is engaging in impulsive behavior, like underage drinking, consider sending their to Solstice. Solstice is a residential treatment center for teen girls and assigned female at birth ages 14-18 struggling with emotional and behavioral difficulties. For more information about Solstice, please call (866) 278-3345.