Wednesday, 7 February 2018
What Do I Advise My Teenager About Booze?
One minute your children are climbing all over you like little chubby monkeys, winding your hair in their fingers and whispering "I love you, Mummy" into your ear, and then - in what seems like no time at all - they're smelly, grumpy, eye-roll-ey teenagers who find you hideously embarrassing.
I've had several questions from people recently about what we should be telling our teenagers about alcohol.
I'm no expert, but here is what I told mine the other day:
"You do realise that alcohol is an addictive drug, right?"
*eyeroll* from teenager who is looking for an escape hatch. I have anticipated this, and she is in a moving car, strapped in safely.
"If alcohol came on to the market today it wouldn't be legalised. It is perfectly possible to live a fantastic life, a better life, without alcohol blurring all the edges. Just look at me!"
"...However, I do realise that the majority of the population do drink and that you're bound to want to give it a go, so can I please just give you a little bit of advice?"
"'Spose", she replies, reluctantly.
"If you want to drink happily and sensibly for your whole adult life, and not get into the pickle that I did, then there are three rules that you need to stick to:
1. Never drink on more than three occasions in one week.
2. Never drink more than three drinks in one session - as soon as you feel even slightly out of control, then stop.
3. Only drink socially, never alone.
Does that sound reasonable? Easy to do?"
"Right, well I want you to remember this conversation for your whole life. Because your reasonable, logical, clever self knows that those three rules are perfectly acceptable and achievable.
But there may come a day when you try to convince yourself that one of them or, indeed all of them, are unnecessary and unreasonable.
That is NOT YOU talking, that is the booze. That is an indication that slowly, slowly, it is making you think and behave in a way that is NOT YOU and that you know, deep down, is not right.
So, if that happens, you need to decide if you're able to stick to the rules or if, like me, you actually find it easier not to drink at all. Rules were never my forte, and they may not be yours."
"Can we go to Nando's now?"
It is also worth reminding your teenager that if they do get trashed at a party (which, let's face it, is bound to happen at some point), not only do they put themselves in danger, but they could well end up with horribly embarrassing photos of them doing the rounds of the world wide web for ever and ever.
Teenagers feel invincible, and are often oblivious to the idea of coming to any physical harm, but apparently the fear of being shamed on social media is one of the big reasons why they drink less than our generation, so let's shamelessly exploit that fact.
However, I honestly believe that the most powerful thing we can do for our teenagers is to set a good example. Teenagers tend not to listen to what we say, but they do learn from what we do.
And that is one of the main reasons why I quit drinking. I didn't want my children to grow up believing that adults need a glass of wine (or several) to cope with the ups and downs of everyday life.
Do please let me know in the comments what you've advised your children about booze!
There's lots of new articles and inspiration on the SoberMummy Facebook page. Or follow me on Instagram @clare_pooley, and I have (finally) decided to do Twitter @cpooleywriter.
To find my book, The Sober Diaries, click here. You can read the first few chapters for free using the 'Look Inside' feature.
And, finally, if you want to treat yourself for Valentine's Day (which you really should, because you are amazing), then the wonderful Wise Bartender is offering all readers Bees Knees alcohol-free Prosecco for only 99p with the promo code HAPPYVALS.
Love to you all.