Stay involved

Stay actively involved in your child’s daily activities. It isn’t easy—your life is busier than ever before. However, making the extra effort to be aware of what they’re doing makes a powerful difference in keeping your child’s brain healthy and their social environment alcohol-free.

Use the 5 Ws to stay connected

As kids become more independent, it’s hard to know how to be a part of their lives. Yet, adolescence is a key time to remain involved—when kids need their parents’ help most to avoid experimenting with alcohol. Parents can use the 5 Ws to stay connected to their kids’ daily lives.

Follow up

Be sure to check in with your child after they return home, since plans can often change. It’s also a great opportunity to show an active interest in their life and relationships.

Get to know kids’ friends and parents

Research indicates, if your child’s friends drink, your child is much more likely to drink, too. Peers who drink are the single greatest risk factor for underage alcohol use.1 Help your kids to choose friends who support your family values and no underage drinking rules.


Meet friends

Get to know your kids’ friends and their parents. Just offering friends a ride to the mall gives you a chance to get to know them.

Discuss rules

It’s okay to discuss your no underage drinking rules with your kids’ friends and their parents. Enlist their support to help keep your kids in an alcohol-free environment.

Talk with parents

If your child’s friends are drinking, should you talk to their parents? Yes. While it’s a big step, communicating your care and concern for both kids can go a long way in bridging the uneasiness.

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Keep their world alcohol-free

Help provide fun, planned activities and appropriate adult supervision for your kids so their social environment doesn’t include underage drinking. If they go to a friend’s house, call to make sure parents will be home and the activities will be alcohol-free.

Notice your child’s well-being

Watch for signs of excess stress, depression, or sudden changes in behavior. Help your kids cope in healthy ways, such as music, sports, exercise or other hobbies.

Take time to listen with empathy to their concerns. Repeating a phrase or two back as kids talk lets them know they were heard. Do your part to encourage them to develop a positive, optimistic attitude. If they need additional help, be sure to suggest talking with a counselor or doctor. Please refer to Get Treatment, below.

Get treatment

If you suspect your child is drinking or is already involved with alcohol, or is experiencing mental health challenges such as depression, help is available.

Get treatment

Have fun

The closer your relationship with your child, the more powerful and helpful your influence will be. A little family fun goes a long way.

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Chat & set rules

When parents express strong disapproval of underage drinking, including setting clear rules, most kids don’t drink.2

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Protecting your child’s healthy brain

An adolescent brain is still developing and is the single greatest resource for a child’s bright future.

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2 Nash SG, McQueen A, Bray JH. Pathways to adolescent alcohol use: family environment, peer influence, and parental expectations. J Adolesc Health. 2005;37(1):19–28pmid:15963903.