What to Do if You Suspect Your Child Is Drinking

Maybe your child comes home from a party smelling like beer. Or you find that a bottle of wine has gone missing. Whatever has roused your suspicion, it’s important to take action right away—the earlier the issue is addressed, the better the situation will be.

  • If you suspect that your child has a serious drinking problem, don’t hesitate to get professional support and help. Many physicians and addiction counselors can offer information on treatment options. You can also use the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration to find a treatment program near you.
  • If your children try alcohol, address the issue directly and positively. Use it as an opportunity to help them learn from mistakes and make better decisions in the future.
  • Many kids respect a direct, honest approach; if you think your child is drinking, it may be best to just ask them directly. Don’t be condemning or judgmental—just try to get the facts.
  • If your child is drinking, it’s very likely that her friends are drinking as well. Talk to your child’s friends’ parents about ways you can ensure that parties and get-togethers remain alcohol-free, such as by having an adult supervise these events.
  • Getting other adults involved can be a great help if your child begins drinking. By recruiting your relatives, your friends, your child’s friends’ parents, and other caring adults to your cause, you can ensure that your child is receiving positive messages about avoiding alcohol use on a regular basis.

Many teenagers experiment with alcohol, so if you find that your daughter or son has had a few drinks, don’t get too freaked out. It doesn’t mean that she or he is a bad kid—just that you’ll need to take some positive action. Talk to your child right away and work with her or him (and other parents) to prevent further underage alcohol use.




You say “talk to them”, but you don’t give any hints about what to say, and what might work to encourage them to refrain from drinking.

I have just found out my daughter has tried pot and tried drinking alcohol. I have told her that she has made bad judgment in boyfriend (who is the one who got her to try the pot) that he is not allowed to drive her around and not allowed in our home. We also have shutdown her privileges in sleepovers where it was boys and girls ( where this drinking took place) . She was told that is the way it is until she proves that she can be trusted again. Do you think this a good approach?

i think they should talk to somebody and go threw some type of class that will help them an keep them from drinking and driving. then there parents will not have to worry about anything or be worried any more ..

The day after my birthday I found out my 16yr old was drinking. She came in the house stumbling and doing unthinkable things. To put it shortly that was an eyeopener AND the longest night of my life.I worked in a bar for over 25yrs and I have thought about since that night, have I EVER looked or acted like that. I havent touched alcohol since.

say no to drugs!!! and apple syrup!!

As a teen, I would say that some of these approaches are a bit extreme. If your kid is in highschool, there is a good chance they will have at least tried drinking and maybe some marijuana. If you over react, your child will feel the urge to rebel even more. The most important thing in this situation is to make sure your child is safe. My mom and I have an agreement where I can go to parties but I must tell her where I am at all times and never drink and drive. This works out great for us- she knows that I am safe and I can do the things I want without lying.

My son just turned 17 and working full time. He has started to drink with his so called mates after work during the week.

We would like some advice as to what to do?

He’s actually buying it as he looks older than he is, he has grown a beard in order to buy beer. He had a six pack tonight at someone’s house.

Please if anyone has advice as I don’t want to lose my son

What you need to do is tell him that if hes going to drink just please dont drink and drive

i think you should sit down with your child and calm down and the start asking a few questions related to drinking just to see where is her/his mind.and the conversation will stat to grow up from there

characteristics of alcohol


hank you my son is now in Rehab

You are more likely to influence your child’s drinking behaviour if you have a good relationship with them and you don’t drink yourself (in other words, lead by example).

Just let him go. He will learn in due time. Don’t ******* castrate him. Help him.

Help me please , I have a 18 year old daughter, who since her early teens has been smoking , drinking and doing pot , its got progressively worse since meeting a boy about 12 months ago , I have tried talking to her calmly , ive tried grounding her , ive tried taking things away from her , none of this has worked , she is now stealing money from us , please someone help me , im loosing my precious daughter , what do I do ???

This is a good article about the dangers of young people drinking. Don't forget to impress upon your kids the dangers of drinking and driving. Young men and women cannot process alcohol quickly and their tolerance level is very low. I have been a DUI attorney in Grand Rapids, MI for many years, and its very sad to have a client who is underage and busted for drunk driving.

It was 7am that my son came home. He was In a friends party. I saw him parking his car in the driveway. Came out of the car and started throwing up right in front of the entrance door. We watched him from inside of the house. When I opened the door he said his friend dropped him. I was very mad. But he was so drunk that he went to his room. There is no use to talk to him at this stage. Please help me what to do.

I don’t think that refraining from drinking in front of your child will really help in keeping them from drinking. I think that showing them how to be responsible is more of a way to go. However, if my child finds that my not drinking will help them I will do it. I believe that I have a good relationship with my teenager. My child even told the doctor at a doctor’s appointment that we were close. I do have a drink on occasion in front of my teenager, but I am over the age of 21 and I am a responsible drinker. I don’t drink to get drunk, don’t drink & drive, don’t drink to feel better and I am okay not having a drink when I go to a party. I do have 2 other children that are over 21 and have told them and my teenager that my father is an alcoholic so they need to be careful when and if they drink. I have also told them things to do at a party to protect themselves. Having said all that it doesn’t mean that things aren’t going to happen. I just them my teenager know that I love her and am there for her.

Talking to your teen is good. However sometimes, they will not want to hear what u have to say. If there is alcoholism on one or both sides of your family , then tell them. This is serious stuff. Inform them of what and did happen.

I struggle with what to do or what to say quite often with young people and their addictions. all of the comments and advice I have read, has touched a few of my personal dilemmas that have occurred in my life. I would like to hear more advice and comments on the matter. All and any thing that will help me will be greatly appreciated, please and thank you. calvinhart@medicinelodge.ca

what’s the matter with a little alcohol? Nothing don’t try to hide it from them and discourage them from it. This makes them what to drink even more. There is a thing called moderation have a limit made for them and rules regarding the drinks. Like once in a while or used as a reward for hard work. And it’s not like anyone hasn’t at least drank as a teen. Don’t lie everyone one in here has drank underage.

To the son is 17 and drinking after work… Sorry but your too late as far as having a productive talk about this potential problem. I’m not saying don’t have a talk but your approach has to be a if your gonna be stupid then don’t be stupid about it theam to it…. Not to be harsh but you didn’t take care of this during the probably several other times this came up when he was younger.. Maybe you did.. But to everyone who reads this.. You have to plant your seeds earlier and not be afraid to be realistic and blunt in a positive fashion… Sometimes their a product of their environment and you can only stay up on them every second and unfortunately most times its too late…. Society it’s self is the problem. The way we think… Alcohol is legal and that’s a problem by itself as in our mind set on how to handle these situations. We are set up to fail. No doubt..especially with alcohol. It’s an automatic hypocritical basses to it… Yes it’s illegal for kids… But you can be the smartest person in the world. if you don’t lead by example you ain’t shit or as smart as one thinks. Just one example on how were set up to fail .so what’s the solution…. Plant seeds early and create good habits from the go. If you start brushing your kids teeth when his,her first tooth is in. It will be like breathing for that child… Patients, follow through and decision making with out emotions is the whole key to our children’s up bringing

I have no control over my daughter,she likes to drink and smoke weed so my concern is that where is she getting the alcohol from? If she is stealing it what do you do as a parent to stop that it hurts so much to see my daughter in this situation, please some one help me i don’t know what else to do she is 17 years old and she suffers from depresion omg this is so difficult for my family.

Your 17 year old daughter is using alcohol and weed to feel better because of the depression. She needs to have some counseling, if she is willing. I had a son with depression and he used alcohol to cope and other over the counter stuff. Counseling helped get him through. Talk to her to see if she is willing to go to counseling. At 17, you still can make her go, but once she turns 18, it isn’t possible anymore.

As for where your daughter is getting the alcohol, she simply has contacts with older kids…21. Not that hard. Does she have a job? If so, there’s the money. Maybe she is selling pot, too. I feel for you. I have a daughter that started drinking by age 16 and smoking pot shortly thereafter. It wasn’t hard for her to get either. The money? Easy…birthday/Christmas money gifts…and then the summer jobs. Took her to counseling. Alas, it didn’t help though. You can talk, you can warn, but sometimes, it’s who they hang with that is their influence and either they finally ‘get it’ when they get older or have some hard knocks. You can only control how you react and what you provide for your daughter. If you pay her cell phone..quit. I quit pay my daughter’s. I told her if she has the money for pot and alcohol, then she certainly has the money to pay for her own phone bill. I also quit giving her gas money and food money. I purchased a ‘fuel only’ give card for school driving and a FOOD gift card for her use if she needed something to eat. NO MORE giving her money.


Really good advice. My only concern is that if there’s no money then will the teen look to find the money by other means ie stealing or worse

If your son or daughters smoking pot or drinking you should sit them down and talk to them. Confront the problem. Don’t be harsh but understanding and helping. Getting mad will only make things worse for the realationship between you.

There is one issue that everyone is not talking about and that is family genetics. I come from a quite extensive family background of alcohol abuse / alcoholism. I was lucky my parents did not abuse alcohol but it did not escape our family, my sister became an alcoholic. Wendy starting drinking at 16 with friends, two failed marriages and a daughter with mental health issues resulted. We tried to save my sister many times, with interventions and formed her to the mental health unit once (threating to harm herself). Sadly at the young age of 48 my sister died in hospital with cirrhosis / liver and kidney failure. It is a horrible way to die! Now two months later I am raising my niece who has admitted to trying alcohol and other substances. It literally scares the crap out of me. I want to try and avoid this addiction heartache again. So I keep her busy and no sleepovers (unless its her cousins). Pray for us.

Please help me my son is only 15 years old and I think he is starting to drink more . He has done this before twice or three times when he was just 13 thankfully had stop until just recently he went out one day and did not come home the night , he did not even bother to tell me where he was but I was so worried I did not stop ringing him until at first he answered the phone and said i was ringing the wrong number and put the phone down. I had to keep on ringing left the message in answering machine told him I will cut off and stop paying his network unless he ring me back straight away. And so he did, and I can tell through his voice that he was drunk and told me he is not coming home because he was too drunk to ride his bicycle and put the phone down before I have a chance to say anything. I hardly had a sleep worrying thinking is this the beginning of my worst nightmares of losing my child into alcohol . I am feeling very scared . Ever since their father and I had divorce he stopped being a part of the boys life as he said I am a single parent now and what ever my problem has nothing to do with him . He got married to a Thai woman after one year of our divorce without even saying any thing to his two sons and that I think had really made the youngest felt lost because he adores his father so much but he doesn’t communicate to them although he live is just ten minutes walk away from us but he has no intentions or wanting to see them at all . My youngest the 15 year old is suppose to be his favourate of them two and he have seen and watch how his father treated his older brother unfairly when they were young and we were still together but now his father has turn to him even worst because his father has stop talking to him completely. Please please can any one tell me what approach should I take to stop my son getting into alcohol abuse ? The sad thing is ever since we were on our own my youngest son will never want to have conversation with me even if I am just reminding him of something he will shout at me saying that I should stop lecturing him . I am scared because he also has a bad temper and he already damage two of my bedroom doors even before he has start drinking.. please I will appreciate any advice thank you

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