Talking to Your Teen About Drinking
Communicating with your child about drinking alcohol starts with the parents' actions – if you as a parent drink, be a good role model by drinking responsibly.
- Verbal discussions with your children about drinking should start early – 9 to 11 years of age – but should be brief and to the point. Give them the facts without exaggerated stories or scare tactics.
- As your child grows, share your opinions about drinking, and especially drinking and driving. Make sure they understand that in no way should they ever get in a vehicle with someone who has been drinking or get behind the wheel of a vehicle if they have been drinking.
- Establish rules, discuss them with your child, and make sure the consequences of breaking the rules are clearly understood.
Good parenting requires building the self-esteem of your child, communicate openly with them, not only about drinking, but about a variety of things so they come to know and understand who you are and what you expect of them. Encourage your child to participate in family activities, teach them to be responsible decision makers, and teach them their actions have consequences. As your child begins accepting responsibility, entrust them with more responsibility – and also with the rewards of more independence.