Answering Their Questions

Answering Tough Questions

As your child becomes curious about alcohol, he or she may turn to you for answers and advice.  Use this opportunity to start an open, honest conversation about drinking.  Because some questions can be difficult to answer, it is important to be prepared.  The following are some common questions and answers about underage drinking.

“I got invited to a party.  Can I go?”

Ask your child if an adult will be present at the party or if he or she thinks children will be drinking.  Remind your child that even being at a party where there is underage drinking can get him or her into trouble.  Use this time to establish or reinforce your rules about alcohol and outline the behavior you expect.

“Did you drink when you were a kid?”

Don’t let your past stop you from talking to your child about underage drinking.  If you drank as a teenager, be honest.  Acknowledge that it was risky.  Make sure to emphasize that we now know even more about the risks to children who drink underage.  You could even give your child an example of a painful moment that occurred because of your underage drinking.

“Why do you drink?”

Make a distinction between alcohol use among children and among adults.  Explain to your child your reasons for drinking: whether it is to enhance a meal, share good times with friends, or celebrate a special occasion.  Point out that if you choose to drink, it is always in moderation.  Tell your child that some people should not drink at all, including underage children.

“What if my friends ask me to drink?”

Helping your child say “no” to peer pressure is one of the most important things you can do to keep him or her alcohol-free.  Work with your child to think of a way to handle this situation, whether it is simply saying, “No, I don’t drink,” or saying, “I promised my mom (or dad) that I wouldn’t drink.”

“You drink alcohol, so why can’t I?”

Remind your child that underage drinking is against the law, and for good reason.  Point out that adults are fully developed mentally and physically so they can handle drinking.  Children’s minds and bodies, however, are still growing, so alcohol can have a greater effect on their judgment and health.1

“Why is alcohol bad for me?”

Don’t try to scare your child about drinking or tell him or her, “You can’t handle it.”  Instead, tell your child that alcohol can be bad for his or her growing brain, interferes with judgment, and can make him or her sick.  Once children hear the facts and your opinions about them, it is easier for you to make rules and enforce them.

Texting is an increasingly popular way for parents to communicate with their children.  Use or adapt any of the following sample text messages to start the alcohol conversation and keep it going.Answering Tough Questions

Sample Text Messages

Texting is an increasingly popular way for parents to communicate with their children.  Use or adapt any of the following sample text messages to start the alcohol conversation and keep it going.

Text Samples

  1. Be careful tonight. If your friends offer you a drink, just say you promised me no.
  2. Have fun tonight! Keep your curfew in mind.  Call me if you need anything.
  3. Have fun tonight. Remember, alcohol can lead you 2 say things and do things u wish u hadn’t.
  4. Have fun with ur friends. Remember, we are always here if u need anything.
  5. Hey! Have fun tonight.  Wanted 2 remind you not 2 drink at the party.
  6. Hey! Let me know what u r doing tonight.
  7. Hi! Where r u?  Let me know.  Love u.
  8. I trust you to make good decisions 2nite. Let me know if you need anything.  We r here for you.
  9. I want you to have fun 2nite, but be safe. Love, Mom/Dad
  10. I’m so glad you’re my son/daughter. You make me so proud.
  11. It took me forever to write this text, but just wanted to say hi. I love you.
  12. Just because your friends drink, doesn’t mean you have to. I’m here if you need anything.
  13. Just wanted to say that I am thinking about you. xo
  14. Let me know who is going to be at the party. Are the parents going 2 B home?
  15. Remember 2 always make good decisions. It only takes 1 bad 1 2 ruin all the good ones.
  16. Remember our discussion about drinking. We love you too much to see anything bad happen to you.
  17. Remember your promise to us. Be safe tonight.  Love you.
  18. Remember, not drinking will keep you from making decisions you may regret.
  19. Resisting peer pressure is tough, but you can do whatever you set your mind to.