Guest writer Vanessa Van Petten: I hope this post is not going to be as controversial as my posts on pot, but I did want to post about how I talk to teens about drinking. I often give presentations to teens about the teen social scene and parties.
Drinking games often turn deadly for college students, reports the Associated Press. So how do you get your own teens to drink responsibly?
Let's be real here: If your kids want to drink, they will. No matter how strict you are, how early their curfews are, if they want to, they will find a way. Yet, more often than not kids drink because:
-there is nothing better to do.
-friends push them to.
So, during my presentations, as untraditional as it is, I teach teens how to maneuver a party without drinking, but looking like they are drinking. I decided to teach them to you here, and you can pass them along to your kids. I have had parents confront me about this and tell them it is encouraging them to drink a little, when instead I should be encouraging them not to drink at all.
I am sorry, but this is just not realistic. I wish I had someone teach me these tricks before getting into bad situations at parties when I was forced to drink. These tools are things teens can use to make sure they know their limits. I hate the taste or alcohol, it also makes me sleepy...no fun at all. I also got sick once off of Sake and...let's just say never again.
I will start with the more traditional drinking etiquette.
1. Politely refusing a drink: I always say the less details the better. When you make elaborate excuses like "I have a game tomorrow," "My parents are waiting home and often randomly check my breath," "I saw cops stopping on the street doing random breathalizers." These are begging to be argued. Other people will challenge you, and it makes you look more suspicious. A casual 'no thanks' works best. Of course, this is the best option. If you can say no, just say no. but, I understand sometimes it is easier to just say yes and make an excuse...drinkers hate to drink alone and will usually badger you until you drink with them.
2. How to lose a drink: Ok, so take the drink, take a mini sip or a pretend to take a drink and then go over to give someone who just came in a hug and put down the drink and forget to pick it back up. This also works well for 'playing DJ,' dancing or rummaging through a purse.
3. How to 'spill' a drink: This works great when giving someone a big hug. You can act a little more drunk than you are and slosh the drink around. You can usually get a good third of the drink out of your cup and onto the floor/person next to you/planter by just waving your hands when you are talking. I have also fed many a plant a particularly gross beer.
4. How to 'pee' the drink: Pouring a drink out slowly and peeing, sound shockingly similar...you get the point. In an empty bathroom the sink works too.
5. How to make a mocktail: I always order after everyone else and get drinks from the bar that look alcoholic. I order cranberry juice, seltzer water or 7up in a glass (cheaper too). You can also bring a red Gatorade with you to party pour it in a beer cup and say its punch.
6. How to take a fip (I just made this word up): I am the queen of fips and I have never been caught...I am very good at this and taught lots of girls to do it. Especially with shots because they can go straight to your head and get you drunk quickly, which is not good. Always, always, always come to parties with a half empty soda bottle. Coke works well half empty. When you take a shot or drink, put it in your mouth and then 'chase it' with the soda bottle, but spit it back into the bottle. It really looks like you are drinking and then the coke is full by the end of the night and you toss it.
7. How to take a shot without drinking: Same principle as above, you can get any other drink at the party as a chaser even an empty cup and spit back into it immediately (it takes some practice at home). Also be sure to slosh the shot glass around before taking it in your mouth so you have less to take in (I can usually spill about 1/4th onto the table or my hands).
8. Pretend to be too drunk to take another: Lets be honest, I have way more fun pretending to be drunk than actually being drunk. Act tipsy and dance around and then when someone offers you a drink, slur something about how you probably shouldn't have another. This can actually be fun because it is amazing what people will do and say when they think everyone is drunk and no one will remember. And in reality, you are in complete control. Honestly, these tips got me through college frat parties. For girls especially, it is important to be more alert than those around you, and boys will pressure to drink. This way, it seems like you are participating...which you are, but you are not too drunk to be taken advantage of and are in control of what you are doing.