​World Cup 2014: Teenagers And Alcohol

Are you worried about the amount of alcohol your teenager will drink while watching the World Cup?

Recent statistics from charity Family Lives reveal that many parents are anxious about the amount of alcohol their teenager drinks.

Previous World Cup research carried out online on behalf of the charity found that over one in five parents of children aged 11 to 21 believed their child will drink more alcohol due to the football tournament.

In light of this, Family Lives has put together some advice for parents worried that their teenager may get carried away celebrating the World Cup and perhaps take risks they wouldn't consider when sober.

"When children are young, we instill boundaries to protect them and keep them away from harm or danger," says Family Lives Trustee Suzie Hayman. "As they grow older and become teenagers, these naturally shift and change, but it's still important to establish boundaries so that your teen knows what kind of behaviour is acceptable, and knows that you care.

"When they understand the reasons behind your decision, and see that you've taken their opinions into account, they may be more motivated to co-operate.

"Talk to them and let them know what is important to you and why. Give them a chance to respond, and make sure you really listen. You may find that the conversation is much more effective, as your teen gains a sense of responsibility.

"Work out what is really important to you and what you could let go. Too many boundaries can cause resentment and may be impossible to maintain, so strike a balance and be prepared to re-negotiate throughout the World Cup."

10 top tips for talking to your teenagers about alcohol

1. Talk openly about what you see as the potential dangers of binge drinking - from health to safety - in a practical way so they don't tune out.

2. Remember your own behaviour will influence your teenage children. So be honest about the reasons why you - or people in general - like drinking, as well as the negatives of alcohol.

3. Get the timing right. Try to find a relaxed time when you are both free to chat. For instance, when you are giving them a lift, or watching TV, rather than when they are half way out of the door or with their mates.

4. Talk about how they may feel or what they may do under pressure - whether it is deciding what to do if they are offered a drink, or if a friend offers them a lift home after drinking.

5. Research shows that unprotected and early sex is often linked to alcohol. Take time to talk about how alcohol can influence people's judgement and help teenagers to think through how it might feel to regret something the next day.

6. Make them aware of drinks being spiked and talk to them about not putting themselves in vulnerable situations. Get them and their friends to look out for each other.

7. Explore how alcohol affects people in different ways, and how it can make some people aggressive and up for a fight. Talk through ways of keeping safe and walking away from trouble.

8. Ensure your teens know that no matter how angry you may be with them, you will always be there for them, so they will call you if someone gets hurt or they are worried about something.

9. Find out the facts. You may want to talk about different drinks and their alcoholic strength - for example Alco pops can taste just like fizzy drink, which can make you less likely to realise how much alcohol you are drinking.

10. Try not to take it personally or feel downhearted if they don't take your advice, sometimes teens have to make their own mistakes to realise what you have said is true!

Parents and carers with concerns over teenagers and risky behaviour issues can call Family Lives' Helpline free on 0808 800 2222, e-mail parentsupport@familylives.org.uk or visit the Got a teenager website.

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