Parents: Did you know? The messages you send your kids can affect their choices and behaviors?
 
Research has shown that one of the biggest protective factors in reducing the likelihood your child will develop a substance abuse problem is strong parental disapproval of alcohol and drug use.
Some Actions and behaviors by parents, while not intentional, may encourage underage drinking and drug use and contribute to your child’s perception of the encouragement of use.
 
  • Do you ever reach for a drink in front of your kids saying “I had a tough day?” This can make alcohol seem like a good way to relive stress and something you NEED to relax.
  • Do you tell drinking stories in front of your kids? Laughing about heavy drinking can seem like alcohol is always necessary to have fun and encourages them to drink.
  • Do you ever ask your kids to get you a beer or other alcoholic beverage for you?
  • Do you offer alcohol to your teen as a special treat for celebrations, family gatherings, etc?
  • Do you ever encourage your friends or other family members to drink more in front of your kids? This could make kids think “more drinks, more fun” and teaches them that it is o.k. to give into peer pressure.
  • Do you have alcohol in your home that is readily accessible to your child?
  • Does your child observe you drinking to excess?
  • Does your child observe you drinking and then driving?
 
If you can answer yes to any of these questions, you may be unintentionally sending mixed messages to your child and could be implying that it’s ok for him or her to drink and experiment with alcohol.

What can you do:

Remaining clear and consistent, and avoiding messages that glorify or promote alcohol use is a good way to provide your children with the role modeling that they need to keep them from underage use.
 

*from the State of Maine Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, “Your Teen and Alcohol, a Resource Guide for Maine Parents”

Download the PDF

Actions speak louder than words. Some actions and behaviors by parents, while not intentional, may encourage underage drinking and drug use and contribute to your child’s perception of the encouragement of use. See our tip sheets to check the message you are sending.

Parent Toolkit

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

 
 

 

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