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Summer, Teens and Alcohol: Help Them Make Safe Choices

July 22, 2015 by HealthyFamilies BC

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Remember being a teenager in the summer time? Waking up late with the sun shining through your window. Spending the whole day at the river or lake with your best buds. Riding bikes all over town in search of adventure. Oh, those were the days...

Teens enjoying the break from schoolwork over the summer months may find themselves with more time on their hands. If you think back to your teenager years, you may remember that this spare time can sometimes lead to situations involving alcohol. Use this guide to help your teen understand alcohol and make safe decisions.

  1. Have the conversation. Talk openly and honestly about alcohol with your teenager. It might be an uncomfortable topic to bring up, but conversations like this can help you bond with your kids (which in itself is a key way to protect them from substance-related harm). Here are tips for starting conversations about alcohol or other drugs.
  2. Set a good example. The things you do and the way you act influence your teen’s choices and behaviours. They notice when, how much, and how often you drink. When you demonstrate low-risk drinking and healthy attitudes, it can protect them from making unhealthy choices outside the home. Read this advice on being a positive role model.
  3. Plan family activities. Teenagers need free time to explore their own interests or just unwind. But planning time with just one parent or the whole family doing something you all enjoy is a great way to bond and stay connected. If you notice your teen is bored, try going to a market or festival, for a hike, or cooking together. Learn more about teenagers and free time.
  4. Prepare teens for peer pressure. When kids are resilient, they have the ability to cope with challenges and are more likely to stay true to their own beliefs when being influenced by others. Help your child build resilience with these tips.
  5. Stay calm if you learn your teen is drinking. Although the legal drinking age in BC is 19, some teens may try alcohol before then. Finding out your teenager has been drinking can be very unsettling. But it’s important not to let concerns and fears destroy your relationship with them. Stay calm, wait for the right time, and listen to what they have to say. More on what to do next.
  6. Host safe parties. Your teen may ask, “Can I have a party at our house?” Talk to your teen about how they see the party rolling out. Support them with planning the logistics – you can reduce the risks with good planning, supervision and fun activities. Here is advice to help.

Related blogs

Parenting and Alcohol Use
Social Drinking: The Hidden Risks
Low Risk Drinking During Warmer Weather

Recommended resources

HealthyFamilies BC: Alcohol Sense
Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse: Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines
Here to Help: Alcohol and Youth

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