The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recognizes that more and more communication between parents and their teens happen with text messaging. Between work and school and family responsibilities, parents might not have the opportunity to remind their teens about the discussions they’ve had about alcohol and alcohol abuse.
For this reason, they came up with the following list of text messages. They are meant to be used to send to teens when they are out with friends, where alcohol abuse might be a risk factor in their evening. SAMHSA encourages parents to use or adapt any of the following to keep the no-alcohol conversation going:
- Be careful tonight. If your friends offer you a drink, just say you promised me no.
- Have fun tonight! Keep your curfew in mind. Call me if you need anything.
- Have fun tonight. Remember, alcohol can lead you 2 say things and do things u wish u hadn’t.
- Have fun with ur friends. Remember, we are always here if u need anything.
- Hey! Have fun tonight. Wanted 2 remind you not 2 drink at the party.
- Hey! Let me know what u r doing tonight.
- Hi! Where r u? Let me know. Love u.
- I trust you to make good decisions 2nite. Let me know if you need anything. We r here for you.
- I want you to have fun 2nite, but be safe. Love, Mom/Dad
- I’m so glad you’re my son/daughter. You make me so proud.
- It took me forever to write this text, but just wanted to say hi. I love you.
- Just because your friends drink, doesn’t mean you have to. I’m here if you need anything.
- Just wanted to say that I am thinking about you. xo
- Let me know who is going to be at the party. Are the parents going 2 B home?
- Remember 2 always make good decisions. It only takes 1 bad 1 2 ruin all the good ones.
- Remember our discussion about drinking. We love you 2 much to see anything bad happen to u.
- Remember your promise to us. Be safe tonight. Love you.
- Remember, not drinking will keep you from making decisions you may regret.
- Resisting peer pressure is tough, but you can do whatever you set your mind to.
Some teens might find it difficult to say no to drinking when his or her friends are all drinking. The above texts are a great reminder for a teen to receive right in the middle of a night out. Furthermore, another way parents can help their adolescent avoid alcohol is to help them do the following on the nights they go out:
- Go out early in the night when most people are still somewhat sober, and leave early before the night gets too carried away.
- Bring only enough money to get back and forth from home. If a teen is riding with friends, have them go out with as little money as you feel comfortable with. This will keep them from spending money on drinks when they’re tempted.
- If teens decide to order something at the bar, encourage them to get a non-alcoholic drink. This way they can look “cool” with a drink in their hand, but not have to manage the hangover in the morning.
- Have your teen invite friends to keep an eye on him or her so that the allure of drinking doesn’t tempt them. From a distance, drinking might look fun, but they might regret it later. When your teen has friends that feel the same way about alcohol, they’re more likely to avoid drinking.
- Encourage your teen to stay communicative with you so that they’re comfortable telling you where you’re going and when you’ll be back. This will also be a way of being held accountable to a non-drinking lifestyle.
Between text messages and a plan to keep your teen safe, it’s possible that your adolescent might avoid alcohol and alcohol abuse altogether.