You want to keep your kid away from drinking because children who drink are likely to be involved in troubles such as traffic accidents and behavioral problems at school. Here are seven useful steps to help you build a relationship with your child and set the necessary boundaries to help her avoid drinking.
Foster a continuing relationship with your child by making opportunities to spend time with her. A close, positive relationship between you and your child results in your having greater influence on her behavior. The power of your message about alcohol use lies in the trusting, loving relationship you share with your child. Similarly, become a role model and make sure you reduce or remove alcohol use in your household.
Talk to your child about alcohol
Talk to your kid about your expectations, and tell your child the reasons why you expect him or her to stay away from alcohol use. Don’t lecture your child about alcohol; instead, seize teachable moments when your child is more receptive to what you have to say. Create a teaching from an event–for example, during a beer commercial–and use the moment to teach your child about the effects of alcohol use.
Encourage your child to ask questions
Praise your child for asking questions, especially questions about alcohol use. Understand that this might be difficult for her to talk about, so give your full attention and actively listen to your child. Similarly, be patient and encouraging, and give her time to develop the questions on issues that concern her; a feeling of your acceptance will boost her confidence.
A child’s self-esteem is largely influenced by the interactions in the family. Build your child’s self-esteem through praise, affirmation, and acceptance. Strong relationship bonds with you will help your child to feel that he or she is worthwhile and capable. This can help keep your kid away from drinking. A child with high self-esteem is less likely to give in to peer pressure to drink.
Help your child improve assertiveness
Teach assertiveness skills to help your child communicate thoughts, feelings, and needs openly and directly. Also, helping your child to develop social skills will enhance the quality of interpersonal relationships. If your child is assertive, she is more likely to stand up for what is right.
You child need boundaries. Set clear rules about the use of alcohol. Make the rules specific, with specific consequences for breaking them. Clearly explain the consequences of her actions in terms of your own response as a parent. Also explain the long-term harm of alcohol use.
Encourage healthy friendships
Alcohol use in your child’s peer group could influence his or her drinking. Show genuine interest in your child and her school, interests, hobbies, and friends. Then take time to get to know your child’s friends. While you can’t make or control your child’s friendships, you can encourage friendships with positive peers.