Talking to Youth

Talking about underage drinking is the number one tool in any parent or caregiver's tool box.  And, although they may not admit it, numerous studies have shown that parents are a huge influence to teen's thoughts, values and behaviors.

So, how do you talk to your teen about alcohol?  Try some of these techniques and remember that you will need to listen as much if not more than you talk.

  • Use teachable moments to ask about your teen's thoughts and views:  When watching a TV show or listening to music, ask them about what is going on and how they feel about it.  Express your thoughts and then ask them how they might handle a similar situation.
  • Educate:  Discuss information you have received on this site or other places about alcohol, how it can influence your decisions and how it can change your health.  Find out what they are being taught in Health Class at school and ask them to teach you their information.  Teens love knowing more than their parents!
  • Discuss facts versus myths: Help them realize that drinking is not all the glamour and fun that the media portrays it to be.
  • Discuss your decisions about alcohol and why you make them:  Talk about waiting until you are older, drinking in moderate amounts (see the Low Risk Drinking Guidelines) and any issues with a family history of alcoholism.
  • Help your teen stand up to pressure:  We all know that peer pressure doesn't stop when you become an adult.  Explain ways you have stood up to the pressure and brainstorm what your teen can say or do to get out of sticky situations.  Give them an out~ tell them they can call or text you whenever they feel they are in a dangerous situation and you will help them out.  If they have been drinking, it is usually a good idea to wait until the next morning to discuss that and hand out consequences.
  • Be willing to hear everything:  Maybe your teen has experimented and would like your advice on how to stop.  Maybe they have a friend who has a problem and they want to offer help.  Be prepared with advice and resources as needed.

The following article is great in telling you what to say.

The Secret to Preventing Teen Drinking