With summer parties starting up for the year, teens are going to be exposed to more alcohol and drugs than at other times of the year. It’s not a secret that teen drinking is prevalent in many countries, but it’s too easy to assume that your teen will never be around parties like that. If your child does happen to come home drunk one night, you’ll probably have a lot of feelings, and that’s okay. But talking about what happened, punishing them, or going through their things need to come second to taking care of your teen, and I’m going to share my tips on what to do if your teen comes home drunk.
Six Things to Do When Your Teen Comes Home Drunk
- Their safety is paramount. Yes, you’ll be angry; yes, you’ll wonder if anyone took advantage of them; yes, you’ll question your parenting. But stop yourself, and make sure that your child is safe before you do anything else. Check them for cuts and bruises, see how responsive they are (taking into account the fact that they’re drunk), and listen to what they’re telling you in the moment.
- Keep the heavy conversations for later. If you’ve ever been drunk, you know that having deep conversations while under the influence isn’t really a good idea. Wait until your child is sober before talking to them about what happened and why the drank in the first place.
- Keep them awake for a little while. Alcohol poisoning is very real, and you don’t want to let your child sleep off the drink until you’re sure they’re okay. Make sure they drink some water if they’re able to, and monitor them to make sure their situation doesn’t get worse– which it may, since blood alcohol continues to rise for a period of time after the last drink consumed.
- Ask them if they’re high. Parties with alcohol often have drugs, as well. Marijuana, ecstasy, prescription pills, and other drugs are common among young people, and you might not notice any signs because they’re masked by drunkenness. Try to ask your teen if they took any drugs, and act accordingly.
- Know what to do if things get worse. The most common thing to happen when someone not used to drinking gets drunk, is vomiting. Vomiting can be good, however, you have to make sure that they aren’t in the position to choke on their vomit. If they’re on their backs on the floor or bed, or leaning back, try to help them to a toilet, or move them to their side in a recover position so that the vomit does not choke them. If they pass out, put them in a recovery position (again, to prevent choking) and call paramedics.
- Keep monitoring them for alcohol poisoning. To be safe, watch them until you are convinced that they are sober. If the situation worsens, call paramedics.