According to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Abuse, by age 15 over 50% of teenagers have consumed at least one drink of alcohol, or tried drugs. Teenage girls account for roughly have of that statistic. With the ubiquitous nature of alcohol, and a strong consumerist culture, teenage girls are falling deeper and deeper into precarious situations due to alcohol. Many of these girls fail to realize the devastating and dangerous consequences that one simple drink may have. Therefore, as a parent, it is best to educate your daughter on the necessity of abstaining from alcohol, at least until legal age. However, due to the insecurity of children at adolescence, such a sensitive discussion must be done so in a certain manner. The following guide will give you the tips that you need in order to properly have this discussion with your child.
The Right Approach
One of the main mistakes that a parent makes when discussing an important issue with their teenager is using the wrong approach. PsychCentral, a leading psychologist website, has identified a positive manner to interact with your child, which is to approach the drinking conversation with a, “clean slate.” This means, while you should interject the dangers of alcohol, and discuss the matter with your child, it is important to also take the time to listen to them. Furthermore, express your concerns as not only her mother, but as her friend. Explain that you too understand the importance of trying to “fit in,” but explain that making the right choices, and her personal safety go far beyond the necessity of being part of a certain group.
Reasons – Drinking and Driving
Once you have established the approach, it is necessary to direct your child to understand the very negative consequences that their choice to drink and use drugs can have. The first reason to mention is the peril of drinking and driving. Explain to your daughter that alcohol is known to impair judgment, and by getting behind the wheel while intoxicated, she is instantly endangering not only her life, but the lives of other possible passengers. One excellent statistic to mention is that drunk driving and drugs accounts for over 31% of total traffic deaths per year. It’s also a good idea to find a local attorney who’s willing to spend 30 minutes with your daughter going into serious matters and consequences related to DUIs. Lastly, in terms of drunk driving, explain that there is a zero-tolerance policy for drunk driving. Therefore, if she does drive under the influence, she will instantly be punished by law if a cop were to pull her over.
Pregnancy and STD
Another extremely compelling reason to explain to your daughter is that drinking and substance abuse leads to a higher change of pregnancy. As alcohol will impair her judgment, it increase the chance that proper protection will not be utilized, which can result in an unplanned pregnancy or and STD. In addition, it is vital to highlight the vulnerability that a girl can experience while under the influence, which can lead to a higher chance of sexual assault.
Overall, during this conversation, it is necessary to explain things in a loving and caring matter. Express how important your daughter’s well-being is to you, and how you are explaining drinking to her to help her make the right choices. The main goal is to lead your child to understand on their own that drinking has terrible consequences, and thus should not be undertaken. If your child can understand the severity of the issue, and knows that she should always strive to make the right choices, she is more likely to follow her beliefs.