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Share your suggestions: Teenagers and alcohol/underage drinking

Discussion forum for parents in Australia

Share your suggestions: Teenagers and alcohol/underage drinking

Casual scribe

Share your suggestions: Teenagers and alcohol/underage drinking

I thought I would start a discussion on parents and the role we can play in helping to protect our teens from harms associated with alcohol. What are some concerns that you have as a parent regarding underage drinking? Do you have stratgies in place that have worked or is there something that did not work? 

Star contributor

Re: Teenager and alcohol

Hi @Erininwoderland

Welcome to ReachOut and thank you for starting a thread about underage drinking, a topic I'm sure many parents can relate to and will benefit from.

I've tagged some of our parents on this forum for their awesome advice and contribution: @JAKGR8, @PapaBill, @sunflowermom, @Orbit64, @Nikkita, @TWatson.

Super frequent scribe

Re: Teenager and alcohol

I have only had a minimal amount of alcohol in front of my son. For example he'd see me drink 1 alcoholic beverage about 3 times maximum a year. I found out he has had alcohol, how often or how much I'm not aware. I talked about the effects on the brain & now if he does go out with his friends I say no alcohol & he says he's not. He knows I don't want him doing anything that will harm him. If I could choose the friends he hung out with I think it would help minimise the exposure but that's a fantasy. I can only let him know how I feel, what I think & hope he takes it on board & makes wise choices. At school they talk about the dangers of drugs & alcohol. I feel like a lot of what teens do when they are with their friends is unknown. I'd like to be there but realistically no teen wants their parent hanging out with them. When he's in his room & the door is closed I don't know exactly what he's doing. I find it a scary time & teens these days seem to be able to get their hands on a lot of things. I just have to hope that he's heard the things I've said & cares enough about himself to do the right thing.
Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: Teenager and alcohol


I am probably a little bit out of sync with what is probably seen as the best practice

I enjoy a few drinks with my friends at social gatherings

When my kids were younger they would see us drinking and I was careful not to get drunk

We would talk about alcohol and how it was only suitable for adults and how dangerous it was for growing bodies

They would have soft drink as their special drink so they could partipate socially but not have alcohol

Once they reached 18 they would have 1 or 2 drinks in my presence.

We would talk about its impact and how it altered their feelings coordination and perceptions

This worked for us as I was lucky enough that my kids were not out experimenting with their peers at 15

In summary
I acknowledged my drinking
Highlighted that it was for adults only
Discussed the impact alcohol
Once 18 they were allowed to try small amounts under supervision

As I said at the start this probably out of line with what is considered best practice now but I thought I worth sharing as it worked for us
Star contributor

Re: Teenager and alcohol

This is such an important topic @Erininwoderland and is relevant to so many parents! Alcohol and teens is a topic we see come up quite regularly on the forums, and it has been great to see parents such as @Nikkita and @PapaBill sharing their thoughts


I would really love to feature this discussion this week and link it to the home page in announcements so other parents can find it and contribute Smiley Happy


Check out our community activities calendar here
Casual scribe

Re: Teenager and alcohol

Message contains a hyperlink

This is such an important topic I would really love to link it so can help other parents and contribute.

Start a conversation with your tween.
It can be hard to talk about alcohol, no matter what your child’s age. But talking is important.
Parents, role models, coaches, community members, grandparents—we all have a responsibility to keep our children safe. You can start off by watching TV together. Use a recent news item or story line as a reference and ask what your child and his or her friends think about the issue. Listen and be respectful. It might be hard for your child to explain her position if she feels that you already have a right or wrong answer waiting.
Prepare your child.
Start the talk and keep it going. Talking about alcohol or other difficult topics means many ongoing conversations. Create the space for both of you to talk, and let your child do much of the talking. Ask questions and show that you’re listening and hearing what your tween or teen is saying.
Stay open-minded and supportive.
You can never tell your child that you love him or her too much. You can use that love to open the conversation and let him or her know that you won’t get angry if you both are honest and willing to learn from each other.
Don’t be judgmental.
It goes hand in hand with being open-minded, but try not to jump to conclusions. You can try asking your son to walk you through a decision he’s made or will be making.
Admit your mistakes.
Many parents worry about their own early introduction to alcohol or drugs. You may decide to be honest with your child and tell the truth. You can admit your mistakes and turn  the discussion back to your teen. You might try, “This isn’t about me. It’s about you and making sure that you are safe.” Or you might decide not to share your history at this time.
Be clear.
Make sure your child knows that you do not want him or her using alcohol or drugs. Talk about why, including the risks of using either.
Talk through boundaries.
Talk about and agree on boundaries and rules, like curfew and privacy. Once agreed upon, these boundaries need to be respected. Be sure your teen is following them and stay true to them yourself.
Set reasonable consequences.
When boundaries are broken, the consequences need to be consistently enforced. But these consequences also need to be reasonable. Setting punishments that are too harsh or severe can undermine your relationship and all of the progress you’re trying to make.
Create a safe word.
Many parents use a safe word or phrase that a teen can use while they’re out with peers. Texting this phrase (or saying it over the phone) lets you know that he or she needs your help getting out of a tough situation.
Practice, practice, practice.
Keep talking with your teen and practice how she might handle tough situations. You can walk through how or when she might be asked to use alcohol or drugs and together, you can work through how to respond. Show that you understand how difficult these situations can be.

Prolific scribe

Re: Teenager and alcohol

Hey there @sivaruthvik90 and a belated welcome to the forums! 


Teenagers and alcohol is definitely an important discussion! I love the tips that you've shared with us, it is a great suggestion to be open with your child about alcohol and to be honest about your own mistakes Smiley Happy


Thank you for sharing these! Smiley Happy