Underage drinking has become a growing concern among parents, especially with 60% of UK children regarding drinking as a normal part of growing up.
 
Apart from the health risks associated with drinking at such a young age, drinking to get drunk – as teens nowadays do – means that tweens are more likely to engage in sexual activity.
 
Additionally, there is a high correlation between drinking high levels of alcohol and disorderly behavior such as getting expelled from school.
 
Top tips for talking to teens about alcohol:
  • Find a relaxed time when you can both chat, such as when you are giving them a lift, or watching TV.
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  • Talk openly and honestly about the potential dangers of binge drinking. But remember to make it an inclusive discussion, where your tween could tell you what they might feel.
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  • If you do drink, be honest about your own choices, because you could be setting an example without knowing it.
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  • Talk about how alcohol can influence a person’s judgement and help them to think through how it might feel to regret something the next day.
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  • Open their eyes about drinks being spiked and how to avoid putting themselves in vulnerable situations as such.
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  • Explore how alcohol affects people in different ways, and how it can make some people aggressive and violent.
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  • Let your teen know that, no matter how angry you may be with them, you are there for them, and that they can call you if something goes wrong, or if they’re worried about something.
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  • Try not to take it personally or feel downhearted if they don't take your advice. Sometimes teens have to make their own mistakes before they realise you were right all along.
 
Parents should remember that their tween will learn from his or her surroundings. If you want them to have a certain attitude towards alcohol, you must portray the same attitude yourself – lead by example.

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