Parenting Tips: Alcohol Use and Abuse

As we think about the end of the school year, for some kids that means time at home without a parent or chaperone. Summer vacation can be fun and full of friends and sun and time at the pool. But it can also be a chance for kids to get into trouble. As a parent, it's good to know that alcohol can be used and abused by kids and know what to look for. Below are some facts and tips about alcohol use and abuse.

Tips and Advice to Consider:

Start talking before they start drinking…especially if alcoholism or addiction runs in your family!

Explain how they are more likely to fall into the trap because of their genetic predisposition.

Set clear rules. Be specific: "Absolutely no underage drinking in our family."

Build a strong relationship with your child by developing close bonding experiences and have daily positive interactions.

Know your children's friends and their parents. This includes names and cell phone numbers.

Know where your kids are, who they are with, and what they are doing at all times.


Warning signs of alcohol poisoning include:

Slow, shallow/irregular breathing



Blue-tinged skin or pale skin

Absent reflexes

No withdrawal from painful stimuli


Warning for parents:

When kids drink, they drink to get drunk…typically consuming 5 or more drinks in a row (called binge drinking) which can cause alcohol poisoning. Without realizing it, kids will put a drunken friend to bed to "sleep it off," only to find them dead in the morning. In 2011 the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 25% of youth aged 12 to 20 years drink alcohol and 16% reported binge drinking.

These facts can be daunting and scary, but they are simply meant to serve as a warning to help parents recognize the signs and dangers of alcohol use and abuse for teenagers.


For more information on teenagers and alcohol, visit


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