According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, about 80% of high schoolers have had alcohol at least once. These statistics might seem troubling if you are a worried parent when it comes to your children’s alcohol consumption, especially when away from your protective gaze. Thankfully, there is a way to protect your children; it involves talking to them and setting concrete rules about their use of alcohol.

How Can Parents Set Concrete Rules About Alcohol Use For Their Kids?

Why is it Important?

Some parents are actually more relaxed than worried when it comes to drinking a little alcohol here and there, but when your kids are still in their developing early teen years, regular drinking can have grave consequences. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, people who start drinking at an early age are more likely to be involved in drunk driving accidents, have serious issues in their academic life, as well as become victims of violence such as assault, robbery, and rape.

What is more, drinking promotes increased incidents of drowning, suicide, and homicide due to the fact that the underdeveloped teen consciousness generally lacks the wisdom and experience necessary to properly handle this mood-altering drug. Studies show that a person who begins drinking early in their lives are four times more likely to develop serious alcoholism than a person who begins drinking in adulthood. But how do you set clear rules when it comes to drinking? The first thing you have to do is open a calm line of communication.

Develop a Trusting Relationship

The absolute best way to prevent alcoholism or illegal drinking in your children is to nurture, develop, and maintain a loving and trusting atmosphere. This encourages your children to talk about their lives. Research shows that children will delay drinking in their early teen years more often when that have a close relationship with their parents. When children have a loving and communicative relationship with their parents, they benefit through higher self-esteem. This assists them to resist dangerous peer pressure to engage in harmful and illegal habits such as underage drinking or drug usage.

Draw the Line

It’s important to make clear, realistic, and grounded rules when it comes to drinking. There should be well established consequences for their actions if they disobey the rules (and it’s even more important to actually follow through with those consequences). There are a lot of tips to further help you along in drawing the line for your family. Some companies, like Lifeline, know that you should not be overly strict or too relaxed, but reasonable and moderate. It’s also important to talk with your children about what they think reasonable consequences would be for their actions if they disobey you. It’s important to help your kids avoid becoming addicted to alcohol. If this happens they may have to attend an in-patient rehab program to help them beat their addiction.

If You Decide to Give Them Alcohol

You may decide that you want to supply your children with alcohol in the privacy of your own home. If you do this it is very important that it is clear to your children exactly when and where drinking is appropriate, as well as with whom. Make it clear who counts as proper supervision for their drinking. Make sure to never exceed recommended daily amounts of alcohol for an adult with your children as you don’t want to inhibit their sensitive brain’s growth during this vital time.

If you follow these simple guidelines and search out other resources, you will be well prepared to talk with your children about alcohol usage. It’s important to fostering a loving relationship with your children to be open and clear when it comes to communication. Whatever you decide, make sure that you speak with your children often and do so in a loving way.