Talk to your child about the dangers of alcohol before they start drinking. Countless studies have shown that parents have significant influence over the attitude and relationship their child develops with alcohol. So there is plenty you can do
- Make it clear that you disapprove. Research suggests that children are less likely to drink alcohol when their parents show that they don't agree with it.
- Don't shout at your child, because it will make them defensive and could make the situation worse. Stay calm and firm.
- Make it clear that you're there for them if they need you, and answer any questions they have.
- Talk to your child about how alcohol affects judgement. Drinking too much could lead them to doing something they later regret, such as having unprotected sex, getting into fights or drink driving.
- Warn your child about the dangers of drink spiking and how to avoid it.
- If your child wants to drink alcohol, advise them to eat something first, not drink too much and have a soft drink between alcoholic drinks.
- Make sure your child tells you where they're going and has a plan for getting home safely. If they're planning to drink, make sure they're with friends who can look after them.
- Drinking alcohol can be seen by young people as a solution to problems. Helping your child to build resilience and confidence can increase a young person’s self-esteem. The greater their ability to bounce back from difficult situations and the less likely they are to drink.
- The truth is children do not do as we say, they do as we do. If you want to prevent your children drinking underage the first thing you can do is look at your own drinking and possibly make changes.