Contrary to what your child tells you, what you say (or don’t say) really does matter! Research shows that parents have the most influence on whether or not their child drinks. Parent Up encourages you to use this power!
A Big Job with No Pay
Being a parent is hard work, probably the hardest job you’ll ever take on! New trends and substances emerge daily that threaten the safety and well-being of our children. Children face significant peer pressure to drink and are exposed to many persuasive alcohol marketing campaigns.
There is good news though – you can help and affect positive change in your children’s lives!
Using your Influence
By following these suggestions, you can help equip your child to make smarter, safer decisions. Underage drinking exposes your child to many dangers, but your conversations can reduce the risk.
Starting at an early age, there are some basic steps you can take with your children to minimize your child’s risk for underage alcohol use:
- Communicate and stay involved. Use these age-appropriate Parent Up Talking Tips to help guide the conversation.
- Set clear expectations for behavior.
- Practice good supervision and consistent discipline.
- Minimize conflict in the family.
- Eat dinner as a family as often as possible—this is a good time to talk about the issues your children face in a non-threatening way.
Monitor and Limit Access
You can affect your children’s risk of drinking by limiting their access to alcohol and setting a positive example. Here are some way your can monitor and limit alcohol access:
- Refuse to give alcohol to your children. Underage drinking can cause serious damage to a teenager’s brain.
- Check in with your teenager before and after they go out. (Use this helpful “Going Out” Checklist).
- Lock up your alcohol and make sure you monitor the quantity.
- Stay at home when your child hosts a party.
- Talk to other parents about not having alcohol at parties with your child.
- Plan activities in your home that are alcohol-free.
- Report underage drinking to the police. If you know of a party coming up, contact your local law enforcement agency with the name, address, and date of the party.
- Get involved in local prevention efforts. The Northland Coalition has a local team in your area.