How to address underage drinking with your child

Parents face a myriad of issues as their children grow into teens. One of the most common is underage drinking. It seems as though everyone has a different approach to handling this from of delinquency, making it difficult for many parents to know what to do, but there are proven methods for success. 

Whether you’re trying to take a proactive approach or already dealing with underage drinking, this guide is here to help you address the problem with your child. Check out these successful tips on thwarting the problem with as little confrontation as possible. 

Zero availability

It’s alright for you to drink in your own home, but you need to responsible about it. Set the example for your kid and their friends, showing that you can handle your alcohol responsibly. At the same time, you need to make sure that alcohol is off limits to any child in your home. 

Simply placing your liquor in a cabinet isn’t going to do the trick. While it might sound extreme or you might trust your child, it’s better to play things safe and lock your liquor up. You can pick up a padlock for about $10 from any home improvement or superstore. 

This is one area parents overlook, and it tends to cost them. Most states have strict laws about giving alcohol to minors. Whether you did so intentionally or simply left access to alcohol open, you could find yourself on the wrong side of the law. If that’s already the case, you might want to talk to child custody lawyer Debra Schoenberg. Several states will deem you an unfit parent in either scenario. 

The assurance

Another critical issue is the fear of repercussion. Children are often more afraid of what might happen if their parents find out they have been drinking than getting behind the wheel drunk. The same goes for letting a drunken friend drive.

It’s important to offer your child assurance here. Don’t punish them if they do the right thing and call you for help. Wouldn’t you rather pick them up from a party than at the hospital? Countless teens head to get-togethers where they are surprised to find alcohol, but refuse to call their parents for fear of repercussion even when they didn’t drink. 

Have open discussions

Did you know that children aged 11-14 see roughly 1,000 alcohol ads each year? Before you find yourself in need of a DUI defense attorney, try talking with your child about alcohol. Assuming they aren’t interested in drinking is a fast-track to unexpected issues. 

While you’re talking with them about alcohol, you can put the media they see into context as you define what your expectations are about alcohol. Explain to them the dangers surrounding drinking and driving, what legal trouble they could find themselves in, and how alcohol can damage their body at such a young age. 

Know their friends

Being the cool parent isn’t something everyone is good at, but you can talk with your child’s friends and know who their friend’s parents are. Don’t overdo it with conversation, but make sure you’re doing your due diligence in knowing who they hang out with and where they hang out at. 


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