Tips to prevent celebrations from becoming an alcohol risk for teenagers
Social events are a time to celebrate and share, but it is during these times that teenagers have greater access to alcoholic drinks. Therefore, it is important that you establish some measures to reduce exposure to alcohol and help your teenager to understand the illegality and dangers of alcohol consumption before the age of 18.
In this post you can find some recommendations to prevent celebrations from becoming risky situations for your teenager.
- DO NOT offer alcoholic beverages to minors under 18 years of age – not even in small quantities.
- If you are hosting a celebration, let guests know that underage drinking is not acceptable at the party.
- If you are invited to a social event and you see a minor being offered alcohol, do something about it. Complain to the organisers.
- If you decide to drink, aim to do so in moderation.
- All adults must be aware of where their drink glasses are left, as some teenagers drink unattended leftover alcohol.
- Designate an adult, who is not going to drink, to keep an eye on teenagers who are at the event.
- Organise non-alcoholic family gatherings and celebrations. Show that it is possible to have a great time without the need for drink to be present.
In addition, it is recommended that as adults we explicitly tell teenagers that we DO NOT want them to consume alcohol before the age of 18. Some ideas that we can convey to them in these conversations are:
- We do not agree with them drinking because their developing bodies react differently to alcohol, negatively affecting their brain development and their health.
- We want them to learn to have fun and socialise without relying on alcohol.
- Drinking alcohol before the age of 18 is illegal and it is our responsibility to protect them. The Dutch government stated that possession of alcohol by minors is a criminal offense and that selling it to anyone under the age of 18 is an illegal act.
Bear in mind that the concept of moderate and responsible alcohol consumption does NOT apply to ANYONE under 18. Offering small amounts of alcohol to teenagers or “teaching adolescents how to drink responsibly” not only puts them at risk from the negative effects of drinking, but also makes YOU responsible for initiating this behaviour and risking the health of your child.
Note: Post based on the blog from RedPapaz and adapted for International Families based in Amsterdam.