Get help today or sign up for 24/7 text support.
American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory

6 Tips for Addressing Underage Drinking

Address alcohol and underage drinking with your son or daughter Underage drinking has the potential to be a blight on our society, or at least, that’s what some would have us believe. The problem with this view is this: What is underage drinking and does it really affect our young as much as we believe.

You see, alcohol is available everywhere—that’s why our bodies are quite good at removing large quantities of it. It’s in fruit and veg, as the sugars in these plants break down and eventually produce alcoholic substances. There are also small quantities in many commercially successful nonalcoholic drinks.

In addition, the definition of underage drinking is anyone drinking alcohol under the age of 21. However, we all know that’s a completely arbitrary age limit that does more harm than good. After all, you can die for your country before you have a sip of legal alcohol, which strikes many as ridiculous. Likewise, you can legally bring a human life into this world when you’re 18, but you are not responsible enough to drink fermented grape juice until you’re three years older. This inconsistency is why this law is widely ignored.

For the purposes of this article, however, we shall assume you’re worried about someone who is in his or her early teens. So what do you do?

First, if you ban alcohol completely, you’ll likely find that your teen will try to circumvent the ban. By banning it, you’ve suddenly made it much more attractive. After all, if you drink alcohol and prevent your teen from doing so, you’ll be seen as a hypocrite. That said, you don’t want to allow your teen free reign with alcohol. Assuming your state allows it, we’d advise sharing small amounts of alcohol with your teen. Model responsible and moderate drinking and hope your teen follows.

Your teen’s friends will, of course, lead your child astray. That is a natural part of childhood, however. Exploring new things is what teens do, and they don’t have your knowledge. What they do know is that the world is interesting and full of different things. Again, preventing them from seeing their friends is not the best option; instead, encourage those friends to pop round so that you can gently keep an eye on everything.

Countries where alcohol is gently introduced to children from an early age generally have fewer problems than countries that ban it and enforce that ban rigidly until a certain age. The reason is that they encourage responsibility and openness rather than creating a mystique around the stuff. If you think about it, it seems quite obvious why; early introduction encourages moderation—after all, if you don’t encourage your kids to self-moderate, they’ll have to find out the hard way.

A rarely discussed alterative is nonalcoholic beer. If your kid is concerned about image, you’ll find that supplying nonalcoholic beer is often a good workaround. It’s not illegal to supply nonalcoholic beer, and as long as it’s reasonably unobtrusive on the label, your kid’s friends are unlikely to know any different.

Teach your kid how to make wide range of cocktails One of the more intriguing yet offbeat ideas is to teach your kid how to make a wide range of cocktails. There are a lot that do not have alcohol, and they are often much more difficult to make. Oh, and making them can look really cool. More importantly, it teaches your kid how much alcohol actually goes into these things. They learn about measures of spirits and so on and how the taste of alcohol is often disguised by strong fruity flavors. If they decide to travel in their teens or twenties, it also gives them a useful skill—after all, how many people can mix a decent Virgin Mary or Gunner?

The final tip is to trust your kid’s judgment. Sure, your kid will make mistakes, but as long as a single episode of drunkenness is simply a single episode, you’ll be fine. In addition, a little bit of trust can go a long way. Chat and find out about things in your kid’s life and become someone your kid can trust. You need to be a disciplinarian to a certain extent, but as long as you’re fair and not too strict, your kid should respect you. To prevent teen binge drinking, get professional help today.

Ultimately, all any of us can do is guide our children to becoming good adults. It’s partly up to the kids themselves whether they want to be good members of society. Love, trust, and encouragement all help, though, so give them guidance and try to set them up to deal with the world of alcohol. The best thing you can do, though, is to role model sensible drinking yourself. If you know someone who has underage drinking issues, call our helpline today at discuss alcohol addiction or alcoholism treatment options are available for you