How to Prevent Your Child from Drinking and Drugging: Topics to Discuss With Your Children
About Alcohol and Other Drugs: Part 1
Ive been reading recently how important it is for parents to become more active
in educating their children about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs. Ive been
gathering information for the last six month to share with my fourteen year old-son.
However, weve yet to have our first discussion. I have to admit to being a bit
nervous talking to him about the subject. My husband has been absolutely no help in the
matter. The few times Ive worked up the nerve to discuss drinking and drugging with
my son, hes blown me off all three times. Clearly, were not getting anywhere
and if its going to happen, its going to be up to me. Do you have any
suggestions for me?
Your childs unwillingness combined with your discomfort
about discussing alcohol and other drugs can delay conducting the conversations that need
to take place between you and your child. To insure that you have a productive meaningful
conversation about alcohol and other drugs with your child take the time to prepare what
you want to say before your discussion with him. Most parents sabotage themselves because
their expectations of themselves are too high, they dont know what information they
want to discuss with their children, and they cram everything that they do want to say
into only one conversation.
To insure that you feel confident when you sit down to talk to
your son, let me suggest to you the following outline.
Learn What Your Child Already Knows About Alcohol and other
Ask your son what he knows about alcohol and other drugs. To establish a trusting
rapportsolicit his opinions about why he believes teenagers drink and drug. Use this
discussion as an opportunity for you to listen. Demonstrate to your son your openness to
listen to his views.
Provide Important Information About Alcohol and other Drugs
Its easy to be impatient with the know-it-all attitude that most teenagers armor
themselves with. However, its likely that beneath the surface of bravado and bluster
youll likely discover that your childs fund of information about alcohol and
other drugs is full of myths and misinformation. Use this as an opportunity to debunk
myths and provide your son with accurate information. For instance:
1.) Alcohol is a drug that slows down the body and mind. Alcohol impairs coordination,
slows reaction time, and impairs vision, clear thinking, and judgment.
2.) Beer and wine are not safer than hard liquor. A 12-ounce can of beer, a 5-ounce
glass of wine, and 1 ounce of hard liquor all contain the same amount of alcohol. All
three have the same impact on the body and mind.
3.) On average, it takes 2 to 3 hours for a single drink to leave the bodys system.
Drinking coffee, taking a cold shower, or going for a long walk does not accelerate the
metabolism of alcohol.
4.) Anyone can develop a serious alcohol problem, including a teenager.
De-glamorizing Alcohol and other Drugs
The medias glamorous portrayal of alcohol encourages many teens to believe that
drinking will make them popular, attractive, happy, and cool. Research shows that
teenagers who expect such positive effects are more likely to drink at early ages. You can
provide a balanced portrayal by watching television, commercials, and movies with your
son. Provide a more rounded picture about the impact of alcohol and other drugs than how
it puts people in a great mood or helps people have a great time. Discuss how alcohol and
other drugs can cause feelings of sadness, despair, and desperation rather than carefree
Realistic Reasons Not to Use Alcohol and other Drugs
Its tempting to scare your son into not using alcohol and other drugs. However,
the effects of scare tactics tend to be short-lived and ineffectual. You need to present a
balanced picture of what the consequences of drinking and drugging can be. Present to your
son the following reasons that he should not drink and drug.
1.) You want your son to avoid alcohol and other drugs.
Articulate clearly your expectations. Establish firmly the consequences for breaking the
2.) Dont drink and drug in order to maintain self-respect. Teenagers sense of
self-respect is very important to them. They are eager to avoid behaviors that might prove
embarrassing to them and might damage their self-respect and important relationships.
3.) Drinking is illegal. Emphasize potential consequences of breaking law. Examples of
such consequences might be: a.) Spending time in jail, b.) Having to go to court, c.) Loss
of driving privileges, d.) Prohibited from associating with friends, e.) Possible
suspension from school.
4.) Drinking can be dangerous. Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of teen injuries
and death. Alcohol and other drugs are often implicated in other fatal accidents such as
drowning, burns, falls, and alcohol poisoning. Drinking and drugging also makes a teenager
more vulnerable to sexual assault.
have a history of alcoholism. If you have a history of alcoholism and drug addiction in
your family, your son may be more vulnerable to developing an alcohol and other drug
problem. Your son needs to know that he would me at more risk than perhaps friends of his
who do not have such a risk factor.
How to Handle Peer Pressure
Its not enough to tell your son to avoid alcohol and other drugs. You need to
provide him with the tools necessary to withstand the potential pressure of his
friends. Teach your son strategies that will enable him to remain autonomous,
independent, and able to stick to his choices. Think of scenarios where your child is with
his friends. Have your son practice responding to your his friends attempts to
persuade him to drink and/or drug.
him to generate a series of responses such as: 1.) No, 2.) No,
lets go to the park instead, 3.) No, thats not for me. As he
creates responses that say no and/or no and offers another alternative, be sure to praise
him for his choices.
your son these six ways to say, No.
2.) I dont feel like itdo you have any soda?
3.) Alcohols not my thing.
4.) Are you talking to me? Forget it.
5.) Why do you keep pressuring me when Ive said No?
6.) Back off!
Discussing Your History Of Drinking and Drugging
An area of discussion which makes many parents flinch is when their children ask them
about their history with alcohol and other drugs. If you believe that your alcohol and
other drug history should not be part of the discussion, you can simply tell your son that
you choose not to share that with him. Another approach is to admit that you did do some
drinking and drugging as a teenager, but that it was a mistake. You can support the
assertion that it was a mistake by sharing embarrassing moments, painful consequences, and
lessons learned as a result of your drinking and drugging. This can serve to reinforce
that underage drinking and illicit drugging does have negative consequences.
Read Dr. Steve Frischs, Psy.D. series of Recovery books, From Insanity to Serenity.
These books focus on chemical dependency, how to raise alcohol and other drugs free
children, and Recovery for both the chemically dependent individual and their friends and
Fact Sheets about How to Raise an Alcohol and Drug-Free Child
3.) Read Fact Sheets about Information
About Alcohol and Other Drugs
4.) Read the
Fact Sheet, Referrals
5.) Read Fact
Sheet, Warning Signs of Alcohol and Other Drugs Abuse
Entering the World of Your Child: How to Nurture Your Childs Spirit by Dr.
Steve Frisch, Psy.D.
7.) Read A Parents
Guide for Protecting Their Children From Alcohol and Other Drugs by Dr. Steve Frisch,
8.) Read But Im Not The One With the Problem: How to Cope With a Loved One Who
Abuses Alcohol and Other Drugs, by Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D.
chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your
children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs
free. Learn how
to in Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. Recovery book seriesFrom Insanity to