Research shows that teens whose parents communicate to them that underage drinking is completely unacceptable are more than 80% less likely to drink than teens whose parents give them other messages about underage drinking.

Talking and sharing your thoughts about alcohol with your kids is essential! As important is to hear their point of view. Give your child the opportunity to ask you questions, and listen to what they have to say. Children who have parents who listen to their feelings and concerns are more likely to say "no" to alcohol.

Children whose parents talk regularly about the dangers of underage drinking were 42% less likely to drink alcohol. How often are you communicating with your child?

Talk... They Hear You.

SAMHSA's "Talk. They Hear You." Father-Son Video PSA-60 seconds

They key is to Talk Early, Talk Often and Don’t Ever Stop Talking.

Develop an open, honest and trusting communication between you and your child-it is essential to helping them avoid alcohol use.

Encourage conversation - Don't lecture. As parents we want to have “all the answers” sometimes we are so anxious to share our wisdom or our opinion that we don’t take the time to listen.  

Listen without interruption- your active listening will start a trend for conversations about topics that concern you.

Ask open-ended questions - avoid questions that have a simple "yes" or "no" answer.

Encourage your teen to tell you they think and feel about the issue you're discussing.

Control your emotions - if you hear something you don't like, don’t respond with anger. Take a minute and a few deep breaths. Acknowledge your feelings in a constructive way.

Watch your tone of voice and body language. Model what you want your teen to do.

Show respect for your kid’s point of view, it will make them more likely to listen to and respect your viewpoint.

The truth is important - if you have a family history of issues with alcohol or drugs, be matter of fact about it, as you would any other chronic disease, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

Remember to talk to your kids about alcohol advertising. Most messages are especially powerful and influence kids more than you know.

Focus efforts on teaching children what TO do, instead of what NOT to do, and reminding them regularly that the majority of youth do not drink alcohol.

The more you talk to your kids, and the more you really get to know them, the easier it will be to gauge what they need to hear.

Visit our helpful resources in the parent tool kit to get support to get support and tips to help you communicate with your kids.

Gain Resources

Parent Toolkit

Useful tips and tools to support your conversation regarding alcohol and your children



Find Help: 1-877-8-HOPENY

Call 1-877-846-7369 or text HOPENY, the New York State HopeLine, offering hope 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for alcoholism, drug abuse, and problem gambling. All calls/texts are toll-free, anonymous, and confidential.