Talking with Your Kids about Alcohol Use

It’s important to start communicating with your child about your values and beliefs as early as possible. By maintaining open and honest communication, you can help your children feel comfortable talking with you about difficult issues, such as alcohol use and peer pressure.

  • Don’t wait for your children to bring up alcohol—use advertisements, news stories, or personal incidents to raise the issue before it becomes a problem. Ask your child what he thinks about the alcohol use he sees on TV, in movies, or among his friends. Point out advertisements that target teens. Talk about your views on underage alcohol use and ask your child what he thinks about it as well.
  • During the high school years, many kids begin to think they’re old enough for sex, drugs, or alcohol. Talk to your child about how she defines maturity and when she thinks individuals are old enough to engage in these activities. Be clear about why you think she should wait until she’s older and which values your opinions represent.
  • Talk to your kids at least weekly about the peer pressure they experience or see at school and in their social groups. Some children are more comfortable talking about what they witness, so be patient if your child doesn’t want to talk about his experiences right away. It’s much easier for some kids to talk about what they see before they talk about what they experience.
  • If you consumed alcohol as a teenager, be honest with your children if they ask about it. Tell them about the consequences you faced.

Talking with your kids about alcohol use isn’t always easy. But it’s important to start the conversation early so you can teach your child the necessary skills to resist alcohol when he or she is faced with a tough decision. Begin talking today so your child’s first lessons about alcohol are from you—and not her or his friends.