29 Sept 2021

Back to School and Sober

Back to School & Sober: 5 Strategies for Success

As the summer winds to a close, it’s back to school for our kids. Mostly that’s a good thing, since school is where kids learn how to socialize and relate to each other. But there is a dark side to going back to school, particularly in the teenage crowd. When school starts again, teenage drinking rears its ugly head, and it’s up to you to talk with your teen and discuss the dangers and risks involved. Here are five strategies for avoiding teenage drinking you should talk about with your son or daughter before they go back to school.

1. Organize activities at your house that are alcohol free
One of the best ways to avoid teenage drinking is to keep your teenager and their friends busy doing things that don’t involve alcohol. Offer to let your son invite his friends over on a Saturday night for pizza, video games, and soda. Tell your teenage daughter that she can have her friends over for a binge watching night of Law and Order SVU and all the junk food they want to eat. Or maybe if none of your teen’s friends have a car, offer to take them on a Pokemon Go safari around town.

2. Lead by example
It’s not easy being 16 years old and surrounded by peers who want to drink or do drugs. But you should encourage your son or daughter to avoid teenage drinking and lead by example. Tell them that they can still be cool without drinking. There is a chance they will be made fun of for saying no to a drink at a party, but they will also be admired by others for following a law that’s in place for a very good reason.

3. Hang out in alcohol-free zones
Talk to your teenage son about how to stay out of trouble by avoiding places where alcohol is rampant, such as college fraternity parties (if he has a friend who just graduated the year before and is now at a frat, ask your son if he’d like to invite his friend over for dinner, instead of going over to the college campus frat row). If your teenage daughter wants to go out dancing, look up 18+ nightclubs where she and her friends can still go out and have fun, but without having access to alcohol.

4. Don’t preach to friends who drink
While your son or daughter should lead by example, they should also avoid preaching to their friends. Especially at that age, most people don’t want to be told that they should avoid teenage drinking. In many cases, it can be damaging to a teenager’s social reputation by telling off someone who wants to drink. Tell your son or daughter that while they shouldn’t be telling others not to drink, they should also avoid encouraging their friends to drink.

5. If you have friends who absolutely will drink, offer to be the DD
The best way for your son or daughter to stay out of trouble, be safe, and avoid ostracizing themselves from friends who absolutely will drink and don’t want to be told not to is to offer to be the DD. Even teenagers who drink can appreciate the common sense and good example of someone being a designated driver. Your daughter’s friends will respect the choice she made to stay sober and make sure everyone got home safely that night, and hopefully they will begin to see you can party sober, too.