Teenage Drinking: How to Be a Hands-On Parent

I just wrote a post about alcohol effects on the teenage brain. Caring and connected parents are the number one protective factor for teens. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Don't duck the hard conversations. Talk to your kids about smoking, drinking, and drugs. Avoid one "big talk" and replace it with consistent and ongoing communication.
  • Set clear expectations and follow through. Describe the damage that these substances can do to developing brains.
  • Know where your kids are. Talk with other parents to confirm your kids' whereabouts. 
  • Get to know your kids' friends. This is NOT to weed out the so-called bad influences! This is to stay connected with your child. Why are they friends? What do they like to do together?
  • Set a curfew and enforce it. This is one way to create accountability and connection.
  • Talk to your kids when they get home at night even if briefly. This gives you a chance to connect and check-in.
  • Nurture a village for your child. Having a network of other adults connected to your kid is important. Get to know the parents of your kids friends and find out what rules they have.
  • Model responsible use. Our action speak louder than words.
  • Don't ignore signs that your kids are drinking, smoking or using drugs.
  • Seek professional support if you are worried about your child's chemical use.