The New Year’s Eve Party… What if my teen drinks?!

It was bound to happen some day. Your teen has his first New Year’s Eve party. Stressed? You probably forget that you have been through it yourself and picture your teen with a beer in his hand and imagine the worst-case scenario. Even if they say you are mean, you’d rather take him to Aunt Gaby’s than let him go to the party.

But you don’t want to be ‘Mean Parent of the Year’ so you say yes, however you will need to have a serious conversation. Don’t forget that the word conversation means that you also have to listen and try to understand your teen. To make it easier, you need good tools. Here are some tips that might help.

Free as a bird?

According to Statistics Canada, peer pressure is one of the reasons why teens drink alcoholic beverages. A study shows that 62% of teens who have tried drinking alcohol have friends who drink opposed to 8% among those whose friends don’t drink.
Even if at that age teens feel free as a bird (when they have permission to go out) peer pressure is strong. Your teen is trying hard to be accepted by the group and show that he’s part of the gang. It is very important that he knows that he doesn’t have to do what the others do and that freedom also means making your own choices and trusting yourself. Your teen has the freedom to say no.

Moderation is always in good taste

Teens like to experiment; you probably wont be able to prevent your child from drinking, but you can make sure that he doesn’t drink twelve beers. Tell him that there’s nothing good about being drunk; vomiting in front of friends is never classy and drinking too much can make you act stupid. They wouldn’t like to be the object of everyone’s laughter, would they?

Drinking and driving: zero tolerance

According to the SAAQ, in 2004 200 deaths, 1,000 serious injuries, and 2,500 minor injuries were caused by drunk drivers. Suggest that your teen take a taxi or other service such as Nez rouge. He must also be careful not to take a ride from a friend who is drunk. Even if it’s just one beer, he shouldn’t let his friend drive. Security on the roads is everyone’s responsibility.

Practice what you preach

Be realistic. What you ask your teen not to do, you shouldn’t do yourself. Drink moderately. Never ask your child for a drink and never drive if you have had alcohol. You are an example for your teen, even if it doesn’t look like it. Chances are your message will get through better if you practice what you preach.
I’m here for you if you need me

Teenage years are harder for some than for others. Young people question themselves, and question authority, and sometimes have less confidence. Be there for them but don’t invade their space. Hear them out, try to answer their questions, help them deal with their concerns. Feeling loved is important, it gives teens confidence, and being confident helps them resist peer-pressure…and they’ll probably listen more to you than you think.