The reason for this month’s column is the fact that every April we celebrate Alcohol Awareness Month. Alcohol Awareness Month was established in 1987 to help reduce the stigma so often associated with alcoholism by encouraging communities to reach out to the American public each April with information about alcohol, alcoholism and recovery. Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive disease, genetically predisposed and fatal if untreated. However people can and do recover. In fact, it is estimated that as many as 20 million individuals and family members are living lives in recovery!
I am sure many of you can identify with this -- the time your teenager get into situations or become curious about the use of alcohol.
As a parent, you want to be proactive in having conversations with your teen about the dangers of drinking early. If they do fall into experimenting with alcohol, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is a problem, but it is important to sit down and discuss the event or situation together.
As a parent myself, I know that no matter what I say or do, or how proactive I am, my teen was likely to make mistakes. As scary as that is for us, we also know there are lessons learned when they make that poor choice. It provides an opportunity to learn and advance their own understanding and to make better choices next time.
Given that alcohol is legal for adults and there is easy access, teens do often experiment with it. Once you become aware of this, it is a great opportunity to have a conversation with your teen about its dangers. Here are some tips for tackling this difficult conversation:
The reasons teens often give for turning to alcohol or drug use include trying to fit in, escaping pain, boredom, curiosity, the thrill of taking a risk and being unaware of the true effects.
Talking with your teen about alternative means of dealing with some of these challenging situations or difficulties not only opens the lines of communication, but allows for your teen to problem solve and gain confidence in their self-worth.