Don’t lecture. Reinforce facts about harmful consequences of drinking alcohol. Alcohol-related traffic crashes are a major cause of death among young people. Underage alcohol use is linked with teen deaths by drowning, suicide, and homicide.
Discuss what alcohol can do to your teen’s future. A person who begins drinking as a teen is 4 times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than someone who waits until 21.
Remind your teen that underage alcohol use can change the structure and function of their brain, which continues to develop until their mid 20s.
Use news reports, references in music, or portrayal of drinking in TV/movies as discussion openers.
Compliment your teen on the things they do well and for the positive choices they make. Talk to your teen about the sources of stress in their lives, and healthy ways to manage stress. Talk to your teen about what they should do if they are concerned about a friend’s alcohol use.
Information adapted from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.