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May 3rd, 2013

Alcohol Abuse – Parent Guide

If you suspect your kid struggles with alcohol abuse or binge drinking, it is important to talk to them about what you see.

Let them know specific behaviors you have observed that concern you and ask open ended questions. Avoid making threats or entering into a power struggle with your kid stating facts. Explain the physical, mental, and legal consequences of underage drinking.

Consider teaching moments.

Talk about alcohol when opportunities present themselves. Perhaps during television commercials about alcohol, parties you may attend as a family where drinking occurs, or when stories of a consequence that occurred as a result of alcohol are on the news.

Eat dinner together.

Research has shown that teens from families who eat together infrequently are twice as likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as alcohol abuse (CASA, 2006).

Set a good example.

Parents’ drinking behavior and favorable attitudes about drinking have been positively associated with adolescents initiating and continuing drinking.

Know your family history.

Share family information regarding alcohol use and abuse with your kid.

Educate yourself.

Become knowledgeable about alcohol so that you can share that information with kid and know what you’re dealing with.

Talk to your kids about the dangers of alcohol.

Kids who were warned about alcohol by their parents and kids who reported being closer to their parents were less likely to start drinking.

Be involved in your kid’s life.

Inconsistent discipline, and lack of parental support, monitoring, and communication have been significantly related to frequency of drinking, heavy drinking, and drunkenness among adolescents.

Talk to your kids about your family’s position on alcohol use.

Create an opportunity to explain and discuss why alcohol use is not acceptable in your family.

Get to know your kid’s friends and their parents

Don’t assume that other families share your family’s values. Explore the values of the families that your kid is around often.

Form a network of support.

Elicit the support of other adults so that you are not dealing with this issue alone. A strong support group can help tremendously.

Be available.

Let your kid know that they can always count on you for a ride or to discuss any problems they may have.


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Navigating the adolescent years is one of the largest and toughest responsibilities we will face as parents. It is scary to see someone that you care about engage in harmful choices. We are here to help you to prevent your child from making damaging life choices.

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