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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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My 14 year old daughter does not want me to drink alcohol

Resolved Question:

My 14 year old daughter does not want me to drink alcohol atall. This has been going on for nearly a year. She goes into a foul temper if I have a glass of wine with dinner, and reacts very badly if I have a drink with friends. If my husband and I go out for an evening she questions me about what I have had to drink.
She does not react atall to her Dad having a beer or wine.
Family meals can only happen if I don't have wine. She seems to need to control me completely.
I might add she has never seen me drink excessively and therefore we are struggling to know what to do in the situation.
We have asked her to come to speak to the GP with us but she refuses.
When she is upset she says she knows what she is doing is wrong but she can't control her outbursts.
We are at a loss as to what to do as this is causing very bad arguments in our family and really upsetting my younger daughter.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  psychlady replied 5 years ago.

Children have fears for many reasons. Some of the reasons are so minor that the child does not identify them when asked. It takes a professional and a safe setting to really identify why there is this fear. She has associated a fear to your drinking minimal amounts. If this is truly distracting to your family you may want to meet with a professional. It is impossible to guess what is creating this anxiety. It could be almost anything. Maybe one of her friends has parents that are alcoholics and have been telling her about it. Maybe she saw something on TV that effected her. Maybe she learned something in school and she may be suppressing these possibilities. She may open up to you gradually as you tell her that you wish to have a glass of wine and from what source her anxiety is coming from. Let her come to you unless her acting out is reaching levels that disrupt the family.

Please press accept; this is the only way I am compensated

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

We realise she has an underlying fear of something, However, this seems to be also about exerting control over us as parents.

I suppose my question should have been are you aware of other families in a simillar situation, and if so where do they obtain help ? Is there a forum online for this type of problem ?

Expert:  psychlady replied 5 years ago.
No I haven't heard of other parents in this situation. There are groups like children of alcoholics and interests like that but that isn't your situation. If you want me to opt out for another opinion I can
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you I really need an opinion from someone who has delt with a simillar situation
Expert:  Camille-Mod replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I’m a moderator for this topic, your Expert has opted out and I wonder whether you’re still waiting for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will do my best to find another Expert to assist you right away. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you. Thank you!

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Please cancel the question Thanks
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 5 years ago.
Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue.

Striving to understand the 'cause' of your daughter's behavior will probably not bring you closer to a solution, even if you discover it. For example, it could be that she has close girlfriend whose mother has a serious drinking problem, and so seeing you drink triggers the same anxiety response she experiences when she hears about or sees the friend's mom after drinking i.e., she fears that you might develop a similar problem (and then, she'd 'lose' the mother she now knows and loves). She may have seen a health video at school in the drug/alcohol prevention programming---similar emotional experience to that video and generalization of the fear to her home and you. But you see, the 'cause' doesn't really matter because you cannot change the past.

I would take your daughter out to lunch, just one on one and near the end of the lunch meeting, after you've spent most of the time just talking about HER and what she's been doing, what her plans are for the spring, etc. tell her that you want her to learn that drinking small amounts of wine is actually good for one's heart and cardiovascular system, and that to protect your health, you will be drinking small amounts of red wine with your food during the course of the week. Tell her you realize this upsets her but that you have to take control of your own health and she needs to respect your decision to protect your heart health by drinking small amounts of red wine or red grape juice. And you emphasize, that healthy adults can learn how to drink wine and alcohol in small amounts, never to the point of getting drunk, and this is a sign of maturity and good common sense. You intend to be a role model to her and the rest of the family of mature drinking behavior and you hope she learns this from you.

This provides her with what psychologists call a "cognitive re framing" of your drinking. That is, she thinks (if you could her talking aloud about her thinking or overhear her self talk,) you are in danger; she fears for your health, is afraid you'll become an alcoholic. She believes she is trying to protect you from yourself. So her core belief about drinking is that it is far too dangerous. But in this exercise, you are communicating to her that this is the opposite---it is healthful (at least the red wine is). I would share this with her during your lunch conversation, "I suspect you are thinking to yourself that......." and repeat the self-talk you think she might be engaging in, and what her deeply-held beliefs and fears are about your drinking. Lay this out in the open for both of you to talk about. Literally, she is afraid your drinking might lead to alcoholism and your death. Don't be afraid to talk about this directly.

Now I would not at this time, drink wine or other alcohol outside of mealtimes for the next few weeks or months. But I would tell her in advance that you will be having a 1/2 glass of wine with your meal on say, MWFS of this week. What the purposeful, or deliberate drinking of red wine at mealtime will do is help her become desensitized to it----but of course, it won't initially do this---at first, your mealtime drinking of wine will escalate or amplify her objections and rants. Expect this escalation, as she has learned in the past that her behavior causes you to temporarily moderate your consumption or she figures you do it when she is not around. he rants have served a useful function, in her mind. But in any event, let her get as upset as she wants and do nothing about it! If she gets upset, don't try to talk to her, reason with her---just let her go. You've explained why your are doing this and don't need to justify it further. You may want to reiterate what your plans are and why you are electing to do this WHEN SHE IS AGAIN CALM and rational. But stick to your plan.

Over time, she will slowly acclimate to additional drinking in additional situations. You can of course, share with her articles about red wine and cardiovascular disease from any number of internet sites and explain that this is the basis of your decision to drink red wine.

What do you think?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

This does sound like good advice,... we have got her to agree in the past to try to accept the wine at dinner but she almost always storms out before the end of the meal.

We deal with that by ignoring her behaviour, however sometimes she is agressive and lashes out at me or kicks and breaks things in our home - how do we deal with that when it happens ?

Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 5 years ago.
If she becomes physically aggressive, you should let her know (in advance) what the consequences will be. That is, tell her she can verbalize her concerns, and go to her room to scream and shout about her frustration, but any physical aggression will result in loss of some privileges e.g., television, take her cell phone away for one week, etc. Let her know exactly what the consequences will be and then stick to them. IF SHE COMPLIES and becomes angry and shouts and yells only, but DOESN"T become aggressive, when she finally calms down and you can talk to her, make 100% sure you COMPLIMENT HER for handing her disappointment and frustration as a 'mature adult' would. Tell her you see she is growing up to become a fine young woman and is showing the ability to manager her negative feelings very well.

I hope this information is helpful to you. I think we are on the 'same page' on how to handle this so I believe you should see reasonably good success. Let me know if I can be of further assistance. Please click on the green Accept button at the bottom of the page.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you I thnk you have given us some good guidelines and ground rules which we will now try. If we need further help/advice how would I contact you ?
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 5 years ago.
You can contact me here; put "Dear Dr. Michael" in the salutation line of your question.

Thanks much. Please click on the green Accept button at the bottom of the screen. Thanks.
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience: Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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