Alcohol: talking to your teen

There are topics that are always rejected when dealing with your teen. Like alcohol consumption Yet, silently, often interpreted as consent, the parent-child dialogue is always preferable. To set a framework, limits, even a ban, but also establish a relationship of trust with his teenager. The advice of Aurélie Baretje, clinical psychologist, project leader and psychologist listening for Young Violence Listens, to open the discussion.

Interview by Julie Martory

Should we take the initiative to talk about alcohol with his child?

Aurélie Baretje : Sooner or later, the child will be in contact with alcohol, often around 12-13 years old. However, it is better to approach the subject before this first experiment. Speaking upstream of alcohol to your child will allow them to make the right decisions when faced with it. In addition, if the subject has been addressed, the child will know that he can talk with his parents in case of problems, questions. This helps establish a relationship of trust. A televised report on alcohol, but also a family celebration, are a good excuse to tackle the subject.

What to say to your child during this exchange?

Aurélie Baretje : It is important to explain the dangers of excessive consumption and the harmful effects of alcohol on the body. Remember that alcohol reduces the ability to pay attention and alertness, that a person under alcohol can be a danger to themselves, but also to others. What to drink is to risk putting oneself in a state where one is no longer able to say no. It is also good to remember that the law prohibits the sale of alcohol to minors - even if we know that teens will do everything to defy the law. This sets a framework. And of course, we are against alcohol because we care about the well-being and the health of our child.

Should we use fear to better convey the message?

Aurélie Baretje : Inform about the dangers, yes. Scare, not necessarily. It is up to the parents, depending on the context, to adapt. If there is someone around who has problems with alcohol, we may bounce back on this situation to show the dangers of alcohol, isolation and addiction in which he locks up the person. Go to fright, why not, if one feels at a given moment that it is necessary. But as upstream information, fear does not seem to me the first message to convey.

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