How do I stop my daughter drinking?
Written by Alison Morris on 15/12/2009
Q. I grounded my daughter for a month for drinking alcohol, the grounding finished today & I let her out with her friends. I got a call off the police tonight who had my daughter for being drunk & disorderly, I was so ashamed, she was also sick in the van & I have to pay the cleaning bill. I cant beleive she has done this again after promising she wouldnt do it again, never mind on the 1st night. what can I do this time. I’m at my wits end…
A. Young women’s drinking habits are certainly a cause for concern and I can understand how worried you must be. Grounding your daughter hasn’t worked so a different approach is necessary. Although it is a relatively easy and tempting punishment, grounding pushes her away. She will be angry with you for what she thinks she is missing out on and may want to rebel further. You need her to reflect on her behaviour. You don’t say how old your daughter is but even if she is in her late teens she should be learning to drink responsibly.
The first step is for you to talk with her. Try to stay calm and explain why you are so concerned about her apparent inability to control her drinking. Remind her how vulnerable she is when she is out of control while under the influence of alcohol, tell her what could happen to her and that this is why you are so desperately worried about her behaviour. Emphasise your fears for her safety rather than your disgust and embarrassment at her lack of control.
Keep talking with her, listen to her and make it easy for her to come home to you, even if drunk. Negotiate boundaries, for instance she should always keep you informed about whom she goes out with, where she is going and you should agree the time when she will come home.
Just as you cannot make a young child eat, you cannot control a teenager. Your aim should be to enable her to control herself. Be interested in her friends and social life without being too critical – you don’t want her to “go underground” by lying to you. I also recommend that you suggest your daughter takes a look at the alcohol section on talktofrank.com – a website aimed at teenagers rather than their parents.
Finally remember that growing up involves making mistakes and, hopefully, learning from them.