LN – Alcohol and adolescence: tips for parents

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Specialists emphasize the need for adults to talk to kids about the risks of consuming alcohol at an early age.

Among the various

causes of alcohol consumption in adolescents

, the little or deficient intervention of the parents is decisive. Therefore, specialists emphasize

the need for adults to talk about it with their children

, even when they are younger, with a realistic look, avoiding “sermons”, but holding limits.

María Pía Del Castillo, psychopedagogue and executive director of

Parents Foundation

, emphasizes that one of

the most alarming edges on the subject is naturalization

It occurs not only among adolescents themselves, but mainly by adults. “All the time we listen to parents saying things like: ‘and what am I going to do, if even if I tell you something the same is going to go out and drink’; or what is worse, they underestimate the seriousness of the matter, affirming that ‘if they drink in my house, under my supervision, it is better that they drink outside ‘, when the central issue is how harmful it is, to the health of a person under 18 years of age, to drink alcohol, “explains Del Castillo.

So for the parenting and family psychologist Abigail Rapaport,

the first step

as adults in charge it is “to avoid putting the problem on the adolescent, to record what happens to us when we face the possibility that our daughter or son is involved in situations of consumption” and proposes

some premises

to address the issue with the boys:

  • Make explicit agreements:

    communicate calmly and simply, without challenging or lecturing: “You can leave if you send me your location and we agree on a time when I will look for you.” If the agreements are not fulfilled there will be no next way out, because the adolescent must understand that fulfilling them is caring for the relationship and shared values.
  • Foresee situations and how they could be faced:

    listen to them without judgment. If they tell us that their stomach hurts because they drank during a preliminary, first we help them to recover and then we will see, together, what happened. Each event needs multiple bounded conversations, you can’t exhaust a topic at once; you have to pick up, ask, show interest in friends, anecdotes, etc. That increases confidence.
  • Exit the usual questions:

    allows us to get closer. The idea is not to please children, but that they can trust to open up. We can use open-ended questions, which lead to different types of answers, for example: how did it go on your outing last night ?; or closed questions that lead to “yes” or “no” and allow us to focus: did you like going to that bowling alley? Empathic questions enable them to expand their records and, to us, to accompany them in that process. For example: what would you do if your friend gets drunk ?; How do you think your friend would react if you called his parents? Finally, in the questions for feedback, the boys perceive that we care about what they feel: for example, does what you tell me mean that you are afraid that they will make fun of you if you take us?

Del Castillo, adds that it is necessary

that prevention starts in primary school

: “In our talks, it is the same teenagers who tell us that ‘it is too late’ and send us to speak with ‘the little ones'”. Furthermore, it stresses that

the situation is transversal to all social classes

: “The anecdotes are the same in a low-income neighborhood as in others with affluent areas.”

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Publicado en el diario La Nación