Talking with your child at an early age in an age appropriate way about drinking is the first step toward keeping them alcohol-free.
As early as 9 years old, children start to become curious about alcohol. What you say to a 9 year old will be different than your conversation with a teenager.
As they enter junior high and high school, the pressure to try alcohol increases. Be sure to keep the conversation going through the teen years.
Talking often builds an open, trusting relationship with your child. Getting into the habit of chatting every day with your child will make it easier to have the more difficult and serious conversations.
Building this trust makes your child more comfortable coming to you for advice.
Discuss and set family rules about NOT using alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Teens need guidelines to help them make good decisions.
Set appropriate consequences for breaking the rules and then follow through if necessary.
Enforce consequences. Be consistent.
Know your local curfew laws. Use them to set and enforce a curfew with your teen. You may may be willing to negotiate for special occasions.
Know where your teen is, who he/she is with and what they are doing.
Actively supervise all gatherings of youth in your home.
Do not allow the possession or use of alcohol in your home by youth. Underage drinking is dangerous and illegal.
Wait up until your teen comes home. Talk with him/her and do a visible check to make sure he/she is ok.
Keep track of the alcohol in your home. Would you know if any was missing?
Call other parents, especially when a party is planned. Introduce yourself, if necessary.
Ask the other parent if she/he will be home.
Make sure that alcohol will not be accessible and the party will be supervised.
Alcohol is Harmful to Young Minds
A young person's brain is still maturing and developing into his/her early to mid-20's. Alcohol can damage the areas of the brain that are responsible for thinking, planning and decision-making.
Underage drinking is dangerous, illegal and not OK.