Our expert says:
Whilst many young people do experiment with substances including alcohol, if he is drinking to excess frequently then the potential for a substance abuse problem is very real. Given the history of alcoholism in the family he is also genetically predisposed to addiction.
The first action you need to take is to speak with him about your concerns and if he is not prepared to listen then you may need to use consequences – if he comes home in that state again then he is grounded for example. Hopefully you will have the opportunity to explain to him why you have such concerns about alcohol.
If he will not listen to you then you should also consider getting professional assistance. I do not know where you are in SA but one useful resource is Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre and their number is 021 447 8026. If you do not live in CT they may be able to inform you of your nearest resource.
So consider the frequency of these events and try and talk to your son about these issues, and from that position you can begin to make choices about how you can help him. Importantly you must stop covering for him – this only allows the problem to continue because there are then no consequences. If something goes wrong because of his drinking then let him take the consequences. Sometimes a tough love approach is needed, and at 16 he really needs to begin to take responsibility for his actions.
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