Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Parents’ Actions May Unwittingly Encourage Teen Drinking

Every parent of a teenager is likely aware of the saying that “actions speak louder than words.” This is true of issues ranging from the way to you speak to your spouse to your attitude toward alcohol.

As pointed out in a June 26 article by the Maine organization Healthy Communities of the Capital Area, certain attitudes and behaviors of adults that may make alcohol more appealing to a teen.

“These actions are ones that many parents engage in,” the organization reported, and while it may not be our intent to encourage underage drinking, some of these actions and behaviors may do just that”:

  • Making lighthearted or joking comments about other people’s heavy drinking.
  • Wearing T-shirts, baseball caps, etc. that advertise or promote drinking and/or specific brands of alcohol.
  • Offering alcohol to your teen as a “special treat” for celebrations or family gatherings.
  • Telling funny or glorified stories about you or your friends’ drinking antics when you were younger.
  • Watching television with your child, and laughing at scenes where alcohol is being abused.

Taken on their own, each of these behaviors may seem harmless to you. But when your children watch you say and do these things, they may get the idea that drinking alcohol is not only acceptable, but even expected.

Make sure that youre modeling the type of behavior you would want to see in your own kids.