The holidays are coming up, and more parties for both parents and teens are on the horizon. How are you best setting an example of drinking practices at these events?
You are the Example
Your teen and pre-teen are watching you like a hawk when it comes to your personal behavior. Whether you see them watching you or not, they’re soaking in your words and actions, and are using those as guidelines to their own expected behavior. As a single mom, it becomes imperative to lead by example. So when it comes to permissive practices like drinking and/or drug taking, how are you doing in that department?
Your teenager is already in a perpetual state of motion, seeking new insights, new stimulation and new experiences. Some of your teen’s experiences with friends may lead to experimenting with drinking and drugs. So, if they see you at home making alcohol a priority around the house, they will tend to also find time for alcohol. For a hard-working mom, it can be a big wakeup. You might feel that a glass of wine at home in the evenings is a good stress reliever, but all your kids will see is alcohol.
Fortunately, some lifestyle trends are changing. Your teens may already be on their way toward a cleaner lifestyle. According to an October 2012 report called ‘Vital Signs’ from The Center for Disease Control (CDC), more high schoolers in 2011 chose not to drink and drive. The CDC found that nine out of 10 high schoolers didn’t drink and drive – that’s more than a 50 percent decrease from 20-years-ago. The results come from the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveys from 1991 to 2011, which asked high schoolers if they drove a car after drinking alcohol anytime during the past month.
However, if you find your teen is drinking into a blur every Friday night, then it’s time for you as a mom to become alert to teen drinking. Start with small steps – talk to your teens, share in new activities together and create new activities for weekend nights to keep them away from friends and drinking. Taking small steps with your teen will help you to guide them back on track with work, school and friends, and help them to get more clear-headed and energetic. By finding alternatives to drinking, your teen will develop new creative pursuits, and you’ll be happily amazed at the changes to your teen once they stop weekend drinking.
Find Alternatives to Drinking
Don’t let drinking occupy your teen’s time. If it is becoming a habit, and you see it, then it’s time to step in as a parent and make a change. Fill their free time with new athletic activities, new creative hobbies and encouraging, supportive relationships. Encourage your teen to stop hanging around negative naysayers and local kids who are known to abusing drink and drugs. Find happy, well-adjusted teenagers who can help bring your teen to a better place in their life.
Teens can also rely on advice from faith leaders, school counselors, pastors and other grownups in their local church. Pastors like Ed Young offer spiritual guidance for teens. His Fellowship church in Texas offers a 21-day fast for the purpose of cleansing. This spiritual and drinking fast may be helpful for your teen. Approach this with eyes and ears wide open.
Saying No to Drinks
At parties, football games and weekend gatherings, your teenager will likely be offered a beer (or more), even when they’re not interested. If you teach your teen to be strong, with a polite but firm ‘No thanks, man, I’m good’ attitude, then you’ve already done your parenting job well. Sometimes the pressure gets overwhelming for teens.
Find out more about the dangers of teen drinking at this special site, in order to help bring more awareness to your teen on this topic. With some strong love and a sympathetic ear, you can help parent your teen in the right way, and help them to avoid potentially costly drinking experiences.
Lenny Houston A nutritionist and weight trainer, Lenny has also devoted much of his time to creating healthy and delicious recipes for people with food restrictions and allergies. He is currently working on a cookbook for the vegan, gluten free and diabetic.