Tips to Help Prevent Underage Drinking
Limit Access
  • If you have alcohol at home, keep track of it, know what you have, how much you have and keep it where it is not accessible to teens.
  • Thank store clerks for carding.
  • Alert the police if you have information about where and how teens are getting alcohol in your community.
  • Get to know your teen’s friends.
  • Get to know the parents of your teen’s friends. Know what their rules are up front so you don’t have to accept the argument of “everyone else is allowed to…”
  • Let the parents of your teen’s friends know what your rules and expectations are and where you stand on alcohol use.
Reinforce and Enforce
  • Reinforce the rules and consequences of underage drinking before your teen goes out.
  • Frequently explain the reasons behind the rules so your teen understands these are protective factors for them, not just a restriction on their freedom.
  • Enforce the rules consistently. Don’t look the other way if they violate them. They need to know you are serious about the rules and they will be accountable for violating them.
Check In Often
  • Before they go out, ask if an adult will be present and if there will be alcohol.
  • Ask them to check in with you.
  • Develop a secret text code to signal when your child may need help getting out of a sticky situation.
  • Trust them but verify. Check in with other parents about your teen’s activities or drop by where they will be.
Be Up and Be Ready
  • Wait up or set the alarm for curfew time.
  • When they arrive home, look for signs of use. Teens who believe their parents will catch them are less likely to drink.
  • Be prepared in advance for what you will do the FIRST time you discover your teen has been drinking. Think ahead of time how you want to react and how you will reinforce the consequences.

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

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There are many activities that parents can do to prevent underage drinking. Find out what you can do to raise a healthy teen!

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