He/she thinks they already know it all. Some kids don’t want to talk because they believe they already know everything there is to know about a topic. Your child may think they know everything, but they often do not. Don’t let this objection stop you from trying to communicate. In this situation, the parent might say: “You probably already know quite a bit. But I will feel better if we talk. Besides, you can help me understand how things are different from when I was your age.” Studies show that when children feel they can trust their parents and are trusted by them, they are less likely to drink.
Empower choices. Allowing a child to make choices, even relatively minor ones such as picking a place for the family dinner or choosing a movie to go see, is empowering for them. Sometimes the parent can frame the choices in ways that the child is choosing between two desirable alternatives. Phase in freedoms and challenges. Gradually reduce parental control so kids have more freedom and responsibility with each passing year—yet maintain limits against underage drinking. 5 REASONS THAT MIDDLE SCHOOL CHILDREN RESPECT When you speak with your son or daughter about avoiding alcohol, emphasize the following reasons: Reason 1: Underage drinking is illegal. Most kids know it is illegal to drink under the age of 21. Still, they may assume they won’t get caught. Remind them that police do receive complaints about parties. When police arrive, they may arrest all who have been drinking underage. State clearly that you expect your child to obey the law. Discuss the potential consequences for breaking the law such as losing one’s cell phone, computer privileges, etc The child, you, and your family could be publicly embarrassed, since these arrests are routinely reported in newspapers. If a court date is scheduled, you may
STRATEGIES THAT HELP KIDS SUCCEED
Middle school children are less likely to drink alcohol when their parents:
Respect their concerns, even when maintaining limits.
Kids want increasing control, for example by choosing what to wear or activities to participate in after school. Even while setting clear rules against alcohol use and monitoring where middle school children are, parents can respect their concerns and keep communication channels open. Give calm guidance. Offer clear-headed discussion and guidance about choices important to their life path.
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