Three Ways Parents Can Prevent Underage Drinking

group of teens drinking alcohol

With addiction and alcoholism trends the way they are, the issue of youth substance abuse and underage drinking is a legitimate concern for parents across the nation.

Especially with summer months approaching, preventative measures can and should be adopted for the health and safety of your teen or young adult.

A Look At Underage Drinking in America

The role of parents is, primarily, to raise happy and healthy children. It is easy to assume that teens “already know” how dangerous underage drinking is, but statistics prove that this is completely untrue.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a survey conducted in 2011 indicated that 39% of high school students admitted they had drunk alcohol in the past 30 days. Further, 22% of survey participants admitted to binge drinking in the month prior, and 24% said they drank and then rode in a vehicle with an intoxicated driver.

For the thousands of American parents who lose their teens to alcohol-related events each year, hindsight is 20/20. Take the opportunity now to talk with your children or teen(s) about underage drinking, before a tragedy makes you wish you had acted sooner.

Preventative Tips To Stop Youth Alcohol Abuse

Talking to your kids about substance abuse and underage drinking isn’t always easy. Based on your individual relationship with your child/teen, establish a strong relationship based on honesty, trust, and love. With your own individual interpretation, try incorporating these three ways parents can prevent underage drinking:

Get Involved

Strive to be a part of your child’s life—set goals, talk about current news or things that are interesting to your youth. Be a sincerely interested and involved parent, and this will allow for an easier introduction into the tougher subjects.

Be Honest

Most experts do not recommend sharing “war stories” with your kids (personal experiences of past substance abuse). Rather, try an honest and factual approach. Pull from examples of individuals (peers, family or public figures) you both have seen who have drunk excessively, done drugs, etc., and discuss how these events relate to your youth personally.

Set Guidelines

Merely by expressing your disapproval of underage drinking and drug use, you can prevent your youth from getting caught up in substance abuse. Surveys show that a large number of teens say no to alcohol and drugs out of fear for parental disapproval or disappointment. This is a powerful factor.

What Is Binge Drinking?

The trend of teenage binge drinking is more than reason enough for parents to be concerned with the issue of underage drinking.

Binge drinking is defined as heavy alcohol consumption, usually consisting of more than 4-5+ drinks over one short period of time. This level of consumption leads to obvious severe drunkenness as well as violence, accidents, and alcohol poisoning.

Just a few weeks from now, high school students will engage in school year-end events as well as prom festivities. Take the time to exercise your responsibilities as a parent, and protect your children and teens from the dangers of underage drinking.

Tips From Narconon On How To Stop Underage Drinking

Aside from the tips above handling the problem of youth alcohol use starts with you. If you are a parent, an educator or a role model you must set a good example. Be temperate and do not promote or allow those under 21 to use alcohol.

Openly discuss the problems caused by underage drinking and be a positive role model. Help kids get involved in activities of their choosing that promote sobriety and well-being.



Sue Birkenshaw

Sue has worked in the addiction field with the Narconon network for three decades. She has developed and administered drug prevention programs worldwide and worked with numerous drug rehabilitation centers over the years. Sue is also a fine artist and painter, who enjoys traveling the world which continues to provide unlimited inspiration for her work. You can follow Sue on Twitter, or connect with her on LinkedIn.