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How to Prevent Your Child From Drinking

Talk With Your Teen About Alcohol

Think about what you want to say before approaching your teen. Consider how they may react and try to plan your reactions and responses. Choose a time to talk with your teen when you both have some “down time.”

Plan to have multiple conversations with you teen about alcohol. The more conversations you have with your teen, the greater the impact they will have. Remember that teens are more receptive and relaxed with interactive conversations and that they mentally shut off when lectured.

Drinking among teens is a serious problem in the United States. Alcohol is the most commonly used drug among teens.
  • Fifty-two percent of eighth graders and 80 percent of high-school seniors have used alcohol at some time.

  • Twenty-five percent of eighth graders and 62 percent of high-school seniors have been drunk.

  • Even though it is illegal for teens to drink, most say that it is easy to get alcohol. Seventy-one percent of eighth graders and 95 percent of high-school seniors say that it would be easy to get alcohol if they wanted some.

Tips for Talking With Your Kids

Listen. The key to effective communication is being a good listener. With teens, it is important to make the time to listen to them, especially when they are ready to talk. Responding with “just a minute” or “not right now” only discourages them from opening up to you. When your teen wants to talk, try to drop what you are doing and devote your full attention to what they are saying.

Know what to say and say it in your own words. Make time. Establish regular together times with your teen, it will encourage communication. It can be as simple as taking a walk, going out for ice cream, or being together in the car when it is just the two of you. Remember, if your teen is not in the habit of opening up to you, be patient. Talk one-on-one. If you have more than one teen, try talking to each separately, even when it is about the same topic.