Shaping Teenagers Attitudes to Alcohol
How to get others to support your parenting strategies for alcohol
As teenagers, your kids will be all eyes and ears as they search for the type of adult they want to emulate. So how your family and friends behave with alcohol will be closely watched by your teen and will play a pivotal role in your teenager’s attitudes and drinking behaviours.
It might surprise you but the research shows that parents are their kid’s number one role models. You have the greatest impact on shaping your children’s attitudes to alcohol and future drinking behaviour.
As teenagers get older, they are more heavily influenced by their peers, as well as what they see in the media, on television and in movies. Having positive role models to counteract social pressures is crucial if your teen is to develop a healthy attitude towards alcohol and responsible drinking behaviour.
- Talk to family and friends. Let them know how you feel about alcohol. Try not to preach to other adults about what they should or shouldn’t do, but sometimes people are simply unaware of the messages they are sending to kids about drinking alcohol.
- Don’t be afraid to voice your disapproval. If a family member or friend continues to behave poorly after you have already raised your concerns, ensure that your teen hears you disapprove of the behaviour, whether you challenge the person openly about their drinking or raise the point with your teenager that some adult drinking behaviour is unacceptable.
- Change your game. If you’ve had a fairly relaxed attitude to alcohol when the kids were younger, change your game and talk to your family and friends about changing theirs when in the company of your kids, however don’t expect anything of friends that you wouldn’t do yourself.
- If someone has a problem with alcohol discuss it. If there’s someone in your social group who has issues with alcohol, whether it is a family member or a friend, their behaviour may stimulate questions. Instead of shying away from the issue ask what they think of the behaviour and what they would do about it. Have positive discussions as a family.
For more information on parenting strategies download the factsheet