Binge drinking is a major problem for people of all ages, but many notice that this type of behavior tends to occur in the college setting. Youngsters are away from home for the first time, and they consume dangerous amounts of alcohol. Working to prevent your children from engaging in this harmful behavior is important.
Don’t wait until your children are packing up to go to college to talk about binge drinking. Yes, this is a good time to remind them about the dangers of binge drinking, but it should not be the first time. At the start of adulthood, they are likely anxious and excited about starting college and anything that you say might go right in one ear and out the other. When they are younger, start to educate them about what the dangers of binge drinking are and how they can avoid peer pressure. Help your child to become confident in making their own choices rather than following others.
Use the Facts
Part of the problem is that some parents just tell their children not to drink too much in college. Seeing as drinking is dangerous, but also illegal for individuals under 21 years of age, you should be telling them not to drink at all. Let them know what the penalties are for breaking the law. Also, explain what binge drinking is. They might think that they need to consume 15 or 20 beverages to engage in binge drinking, but the number is actually much lower than that. Providing the facts can make them realize what they are doing.
Show the Consequences
You might think that you don’t want to scare your children. However, it is better to reveal the truth with images and stories of what can happen from binge drinking before it’s too late, and you find out that they have suffered serious or fatal consequences from engaging in the behavior themselves. Find news stories that show what happens when people drink too much alcohol or when they get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated. When they have these images implanted in their minds, the hope is that they will stop and think before they engage in binge drinking.
Before they leave for college, they might inform you that they are adults now and that you cannot tell them what to do. In fact, they might sound so confident that you forget that you are the parent. If they are staying home for college, maintaining a curfew may help curb underage drinking. If they are moving out for college, maintaining contact with your child keeps you close. Even the thought of receiving random calls from you may discourage your college student from engaging in drinking activities.
Rehab for Serious Issues
When you notice that your teenager or young adult has been binge drinking, you need to step in and intervene. Explain that if binge drinking has become a problem, and that you want him or her to attend a rehabilitation program. At that point, professional help may be the only method that is going to assist your children. You can have the confidence that he or she is going to a rehabilitation facility for his or her own benefit.
Always keep an open line of communication with your children and explain to them the serious dangers of binge drinking. Do not hesitate to call us for assistance if you feel that professional help is needed for your children.