Setting Good Examples around Alcohol

How you respond to situations that include alcohol—especially when your children are around—sends a very strong message. Make sure to think about your actions related to drinking and the repercussions they may have (especially with young children).

  • When you talk about alcohol, avoid statements that make it sound necessary or especially fun (don’t say things like “After the day I’ve had, I could use a martini!” around your kids).
  • Model restraint in your own life—if you choose to drink, do so responsibly. If you or your partner struggles with alcohol abuse, seek professional help from a physician or addiction counselor.
  • Don’t laugh at or glorify the actions of people who have had too much to drink—even those on television or in movies.
  • If you choose to consume alcohol, be prepared to answer when your kids ask why they can’t. Keep your answer simple, such as “Alcohol isn’t good for growing bodies and minds.”
  • Always offer plenty of nonalcoholic drink options when you entertain in your home to show your kids that grown-ups don’t need alcohol to have fun together.
  • Set a good example for your children when attending holiday parties; just because it’s New Year’s Eve or the Fourth of July doesn’t mean you should drink excessively.

Whether you realize it or not, your kids are watching everything you do, and learning from it. By making sure that your actions around alcohol are responsible, you can send a positive message to your child long before he or she is forced to make a decision about using it.




good advice to keep in mind. you never know what your kids will remember or misinterpret.


good article


I am glad your response says “if you choose to drink” so that children don’t see this as a norm for everyone once they become adults. BRAVO!


Thank you so much for these valuable tips on alcohol and setting good examples. The last sentence in particular, setting a good example for our children, is so vital given what prevention research is showing us about parental attitudes & behaviors being one of the greatest influences of youth problem behavior.
Thanks again.
Julie Hynes, Lane County Prevention Program (

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