Start the Conversation to Prevent Underage Drinking

Talking to young people and teens about drinking doesn’t have to be intimidating. Talk it Out NC is here to help every step of the way.

Prepare to Engage with Confidence

Setting the right tone to create long-term, open dialogue about underage drinking is possible, it just takes preparation. By planning ahead, you can positively affect the way the young people in your life think about alcohol, and impact the decisions they make when they find themselves in a sticky situation.

Top 3 Things To Keep In Mind When Talking To Young People About Drinking Alcohol

1. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Listen to your child. This will help you to better understand their perspective on alcohol & potentially expand the conversation beyond “Do you drink alcohol?” By listening, you’re sending the signal that you’re available for them.

2. Consider The Setting And Situation

Whether there’s something showing alcohol on TV, you hear about a real-life situation involving alcohol, or you’re simply in the grocery aisle or a restaurant, take it as an opportunity to talk about underage drinking.

3. Use Age-Appropriate Messages

It’s never too early to start the conversation about underage drinking — and there’s no stopping point. It’s always important to keep the conversation going — just take the age of your audience into consideration.

Up to 12 Years Old

Younger children — pre-teens and tweens — are often curious about alcohol. This is a great time to have an honest conversation about what alcohol is and the potential dangers of underage drinking.

13 to 17 Years Old

Once they become teenagers, curiosity can transform into pushing boundaries and experimentation. They know what alcohol is, and now they need you to share the facts about why they shouldn’t use it (even when their friends are). External influences, like peer pressure and social stigma, are more likely to be felt by teens, so be flexible in how you start the conversation about tough topics.

18 to 20 Years Old

By the time they graduate and are off at college, underage drinking is a reality in many teens’ lives. Now’s the time to shift your conversations to focus on the implications of risky choices on things like future job opportunities, next-level education, and family.

Looking for help on what to say?

Why Does Talking About
Underage Drinking Matter?

It’s not ‘if’ but ‘when’ teens will need to make smart decisions about alcohol

As parents and trusted adults, we want to shield young people from difficult situations. Underage drinking is one of them. The most important thing you can do is equip young people you know with the information they need to make smart decisions.

Little conversations can make a big difference

There is no shortage of social and societal pressure for young people to drink underage. As a trusted adult, you play a meaningful role in attitudes toward alcohol. 1

Your open dialogue can have a positive impact on the decisions of young people! While 72% of parents think that their kids’ friends have the greatest influence on their decision to drink alcohol, the truth is that most students (93%) feel parents talking with them more would help stop underage drinking. 2

You have the power to inspire healthy choices

There’s no substitute for a parent’s ability to shape their child’s behavior, especially when it comes to alcohol. In fact, teenagers reported that their parent’s disapproval is the #1 reason they don’t drink alcohol. 3
By talking to teens about underage drinking, you can help them make good decisions now and in the future.

Concerned That Your Child, Teenager, Or Young Adult Is Already Drinking Alcohol?

Unfortunately, it’s a common question, “What should I do if I catch my teenager drinking alcohol?”

It’s never too late to start the conversation — you can still talk to your teenager about the risks of underage drinking. Remember, your input matters to them, and opening up the dialogue through everyday discussions about underage drinking will enable them to ask questions and help you to understand where they’re coming from and communicate the facts.

Need resources to Start the Conversation with the children and teenagers in your life? Talk it Out NC can help.