Talking to your children about alcohol

What to talk about?Parents talking
The important things to discuss with your child include:
  • how alcohol affects young people in the short and long-term
  • family rules about drinking alcohol
  • the law
  • ways to socialise and relax that don’t involve alcohol
  • ways to turn down offers of alcohol
  • ways to party safely, have a good time and reduce the risks of alcohol harm.
Communication tips
Whether you choose to have a formal conversation using relevant brochures and websites as reference, or an informal discussion, consider these tips so you keep the lines of communication open with your child.
The chat
Choose the right time. Make sure there are no distractions and everyone is calm and relaxed.
Be patient and stay calm
Sometimes teenagers have difficulty expressing what they mean, or they see things slightly differently to you. Be patient, be understanding, and stay calm.
Be honest and lead by example
Be honest about your values and what concerns you. This will help them understand that you care about their wellbeing. Be open and honest when discussing your own experiences. Let them know what can happen if they drink too much or too quickly.
Make decisions together
It’s important to be supportive and respectful when making decisions together. Establish ground rules, boundaries and consequences. Help them make their own decisions.
Keep talking
Keep the lines of communication open. Let them know you’re always there if they need to talk. Don’t be afraid to talk about an alcohol related issue more than once, or to raise the subject randomly, just to keep those lines of communication stay open. The way you speak with your child affects the way your child responds to what you’re saying. Interrogating and lecturing your child can create friction. Try being open to ideas and discussion by valuing their opinion, empathising and working things out together.  
Time to Talk Resource
Download the latest resource, Time to Talk, designed to help parents talk to teenagers about alcohol. It explores issues of resilience, communication, parties and schoolies.