Rules on Alcohol for Teenagers
How to manage conflicting community views on alcohol
No two families have the same rules and boundaries for teenagers or method for dealing with the issues of alcohol and teenage drinking. Families may even change their viewpoint on alcohol with each subsequent child who goes through adolescence and household members may also have different views amongst themselves including rules on alcohol for teenagers.
Whilst some parents believe that providing alcohol with a meal in a family setting is appropriate, others supply their teenager with alcohol to take to teenage parties. What rules and boundaries you decide to set as a parent is your business, however whatever your decision, you need to make it based on informed decisions and not pressure from your child, their friends and/or their friends’ parents.
At this vulnerable age, all sorts of different standards and values start to emerge. Although these differences can seem confrontational, they can be used to your advantage by discussing the differences in attitudes and how other parenting rules apply. This makes for an influential and informed discussion – much better than just dry old lectures about the rights and wrongs of alcohol.
There are Australian guidelines on alcohol. Several states including as Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania now have Secondary Supply laws in place and others are considering legislation, which means it is illegal for an adult to provide alcohol to a child under 18 unless they obtained the consent of that child’s parents.
- Talk to other parents about your views on alcohol. If you do not want your child to drink alcohol at parties make sure they have a clear understanding of where you stand on the issue. If they ask you, let them know why you believe it is important to take a stand, but respect that the rules and boundaries they choose to set for their children are not your business unless they end up directly affecting your child.
- Don’t be afraid to get angry. If you discover that someone has broken the rules that you have set for your child around alcohol, don’t be afraid to let them know how you feel. They can be prosecuted as underage drinking is against the law in some States to provide alcohol to your child without your consent. It is their business if they have different rules for their children, but your rules should be respected and undermining your wishes is not acceptable.
- Create a united parental voice. A united voice between parents will greatly assist you to manage the issue of alcohol with your teenagers. Even if only two or three of your teen’s friends’ parents agree on a set of rules around alcohol it’s going to carry some weight. Transparency and dialogue with other concerned parents could make a big difference to the influence you have on your teen.
Don’t be afraid to go-it-alone. There’s an old saying that “one parent plus conviction equals the majority”. If you feel you have to go it alone with different rules on alcohol for teenagers, then do it. The main thing is that your motivation is to keep them safe and healthy. They will be more accepting if they understand your reasoning. Just ensure you’re as good a listener to them as you want them to be to you.