Some parents may feel their teens don't listen. But studies—and the
downturn in underage drinking and driving deaths—show that's not true.
In fact, you are the most powerful influence on your child's behavior.
Building a close relationship with your kids encourages them to come to
you for help in making decisions. Over 50% of teens say their parents
are their role models. Research shows:
Young people who hear/learn "no use" messages at home are 50%
LESS likely to use alcohol. Additionally, two-thirds of teens say that
losing their parents' respect and pride is one of the main reasons they
don't use illegal substances.
If you talk to your kids about drinking, they'll listen. They need to hear
what you have to say about underage drinking. Find the help and
resources you need here. Then talk to your kids. Be a parent. Because
It's bound to happen: sometime after your child outgrows the need for a
babysitter, but before starting college, you are going to leave the
It begins with a simple invitation from your kid to a friend. That
invitation gets texted through the school. Instant messaged across
town. And, before you know it, a quiet night can turn into house party
When parents think about underage drinking at house parties, they
might flash to images of a trashed home or kids acting wild. Those are
valid fears, but there are even worse consequences. Students drive to
parties, or ride with friends. And then, after the party and the drinking,
they get back in their cars to drive home.
Tickets, car crashes and funerals are all potential endings to the one
party gone wrong.
Check out the following links for information on how to cut through the
House Party facts and fiction—and how to help prevent your kids from
taking their lives into their own hands on account of a house party.
If you suspect a house party, DO NOT HESITATE TO CALL 911. Do
not take matters into your own hands.
Having The Talk
Talking with your kids about underage drinking and driving can be a
challenging task, but experts agree that it is a necessary one. Teens
who hear a strong no-use message from their parents are less likely to
drink or use other drugs. But just because you know you should talk
with your children, it doesn't necessarily mean you know how to go
The most important thing to remember when it comes to talking about
difficult subjects like drinking and drugs is that it's not a five-minute
"talk"—it's about building an ongoing conversation.
While many teens drink alcohol, underage alcohol use is not inevitable.
Families are not helpless to prevent it. Focus your efforts on the factors
that protect teens from alcohol use. At the same time, you can work to
reduce the factors that increase the chance that they will drink.
By entering into the conversation, you will be able to:
•Help your teens know how to resist alcohol.
•Help them find ways to have fun without alcohol.
•Do not give alcohol to your teens. Tell them that any alcohol in
your home is off limits to them and their friends.
•Don't let your teens attend parties where alcohol is served.
Make sure alcohol isn't available at teen parties in your own
•Set clear rules about not drinking and enforce them
•Help your teens avoid dangerous situations such as riding in a
car driven by someone who has been drinking.
•Help your teens get professional help if you're worried about
their involvement with alcohol.
Pointers adapted from Parents: The Anti-Drug.
Parents often try to be friends with their children. It's more important to
be a parent—to establish rules, set limits and help children learn to be
safe and healthy.
•Set clear rules and discuss in advance the consequences of
•Consistently enforce the rules.
•Have teens check in at regular times when they are away from
home or school.
•Call parents whose home is used for a party (offer to help with
snacks or supervision).
•Make it easy for your teen to leave a party where alcohol is
•Listen to your instincts—don't be afraid to intervene if your gut
reaction tells you something is wrong.
•Use "teachable moments" to talk to your teen about alcohol use.
Research shows that young people are less likely to use alcohol if their
parents set clear rules about not doing so. (Journal of Studies on
The bottom line for parents is this: do not be vague about your
expectations for your kids. Let them know in no uncertain terms that you
do not approve of underage drinking. Set high expectations for your kids
and for their school environment. And show them through your own
behavior how you live by those expectations
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