TALK ABOUT IT
Tell your teenager what you think about alcohol and drinking. Talk about why you drink and about why adults are allowed to drink but children aren’t. And it’s one thing to have glass of wine, getting drunk is another. Regardless, talking about what to do in different situations is a good idea. You might, for example, want to decide that one member of the household will stay sober if your child is out. That can be good, if something were to happen and your teenager needed you to come and get them.
HAVE THE COURAGE TO BE AN ADULT
Be clear that teenagers shouldn’t drink. The fact that adults do is a different matter, they’re old enough to take responsibility for themselves. Don’t give way because you’re worried about a potential row, or because conflict makes you uncomfortable. You can show that you’re willing to discuss the subject and help your child develop their own opinions. But you’re the adult – which means your opinions are important and that you have to take responsibility by deciding what goes in your family.
GET HELP IF YOU NEED IT
Drinking habits can easily be passed on to the next generation. Children who grow up in families where alcohol is abused or is a problem are at risk, and their consumption is influenced both by their family’s situation and genetic factors. If a family member is a problem drinker, help and support is available, both for the teenager and for the adult. Two useful websites are Alkoholprofilen.se and 1177.se. Through Alkoholprofilen you answer a few simple questions which in turn will give you a picture of your alcohol consumption levels. It’s a test worth doing, and the results can be interesting for a wide range of reasons. You’ll find tips about organisations you can contact for support and more information here.