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Talking With Teens About Alcohol: Talk With Your Teen

  • Clarify your expectations. Set clear ground rules for not drinking and set specific consequences if your teen does drink. Discuss your expectations that they do not drink alcohol as teenagers and the reasons for it, including the laws, risks, and consequences.
  • Talk early and often. Share your concerns about alcohol. Listen to their concerns, questions, and perspectives. Use advertisements, news stories, or personal incidents to raise the issue. Ask teens what they think about alcohol use on television, on the Internet, in movies, or among friends.
  • Counter the “everybody’s doing it” message. Remind teens that not everyone drinks, particularly teenagers (for whom drinking is also illegal). One in three adults chooses to not consume alcohol. Let them know that abstaining from alcohol is, for many, a responsible and acceptable choice.
  • Find out what’s happening with friends, at school, and places they spend time. Directly ask if friends talk about alcohol use and where alcohol is readily available. Find out whether or how your teen feels pressure from others to use alcohol. Check in regularly, since the situation may change as your teen gets older.

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Content created by Office of Adolescent Health
Content last reviewed on October 17, 2016