Adolescence is a time of many confusing changes for your teen. These challenges also make it difficult for both parents and your teen. It is important to understand what it is like to be a teen in the year 2022. This information can help parents stay closer to their children and have more influence in the decisions they make.
Research shows that teens brains are still developing until mid 20’s. The adolescent brain may be wired to help them navigate adolescence and take the necessary risks to achieve independence from their parents. This explains why teens often seek out novelty, thrilling, impulsive, and sometimes dangerous behaviors, including drinking alcohol or using drugs.
The best way to influence your teen to avoid drinking alcohol is to have a strong, trusting relationship. Teens are more likely to delay drinking when they feel they have a safe, close, and supportive relationship with their parents. When children have a strong bond with a parent, they are more likely to feel good about themselves, and therefore may be less likely to give into the pressure to drink.
Ways to build a strong, supportive bond with your child:
Establish open communication. Make it easy for your teen to talk honestly with you. Begin ongoing conversations with your teen about issues or concerns at school. Open up the conversation to lead to how they feel about underage drinking
Show you care. Even though young teens may not always show it, they still need to know that they are important to their parents. Make it a point to regularly spend individual time with your child. Some activities to share: a walk, a bike ride, watching a movie, or dining out.
Draw the line. Set clear, realistic expectations for your child’s behavior. Establish appropriate consequences for breaking rules and consistently enforce them.
Offer acceptance. Make sure your teen knows that you appreciate his or her efforts as well as accomplishments. Avoid teasing or criticism.
Understand that your child is growing up. This doesn’t mean a “hands-off” attitude. But as you guide your child’s behavior, also make an effort to respect his or her growing need for independence and privacy.
Encourage conversation. Encourage your child to talk about whatever interests him or her. Listen without interruption, and give your child a chance to teach you something new. Active listening to your child will help open up conversations about topics that concern you.
Ask open-ended questions. Encourage your teen to tell you how he or she thinks and feels about the issue you’re discussing. Avoid questions that have a simple “yes” or “no” answer.
Control your emotions. If you hear something you don’t like, avoid responding with anger. Instead, take a few deep breaths and acknowledge your feelings in a constructive way. Model healthy emotional regulation to your child.
Avoid lecturing or nagging your child. If you show respect for your child’s viewpoint, he or she will be more likely to listen to and respect yours.