Anger about not being trusted. Some kids interpret a request to talk as a sign that you do not trust them or think they are too young to know better. Reassure your son or daughter that you are not suspicious and are doing this to help them, not attack them. Studies show that kids who feel they can trust their parents, and are trusted by them, are less likely to drink.

both approach matters from a different angle. Also, avoid statements that begin with “you” (“You did this…”). They make the other person feel attacked.

AVOIDING POTHOLES Sometimes kids react badly when parents try to discuss sensitive topics. Here are ways to address their concerns. Adapt them to your child’s personality as appropriate. Fear of getting a lecture. Your child may be open to talking, but the last thing they want is a one-way lecture. Studies show that kids who come from homes where parents are perceived to lecture too much actually drink more.

Emphasize These Themes: ࡟ CARING about your child ࡟ Wanting to UNDERSTAND your child ࡟ Wanting to HELP your child ࡟ RESPECTING your child’s privacy and desire to be independent

Keep It Constructive Do your best to keep communication channels open. Most of all, be constructive in your responses, not defensive or angry.

Fear of punishment. Your son or daughter may fear you’ll treat them harshly right from the start. Kids who fear punishment communicate less often with their parents. Studies show these kids tend to initiate drinking, drink more often, and are more likely to experience alcohol-related consequences.

Child: “I know what you will do if we talk. You’ll lecture me like you always do. Then if I say something you will interrupt me.” Parent: “You’re right. This time I won’t lecture. I will listen to what you think.”

To reduce fear, the parent could say:

“I promise that I will listen to you and I’ll take what you say seriously. I’ll be straight with you and you be straight with me.”


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