Skip to main content

Table 2 Summary of the parenting guidelines for adolescent alcohol use (

From: Parent attitudes, family dynamics and adolescent drinking: qualitative study of the Australian parenting guidelines for adolescent alcohol use

Delay your adolescent’s introduction to drinking alcohol Aim to keep your adolescent child from experimenting with alcohol for as long as possible. Do not give them any alcohol while they are under the age of 15, and delay their first alcoholic drink for as long as possible
Model responsible drinking and attitudes towards alcohol Model responsible drinking by establishing and following your own rules for drinking responsibly. Tips include:
- Limit your alcohol use, especially in front of your children
  - Do not get drunk, especially in front of your children
  - Sometimes decline the offer of alcohol
-Provide food and non-alcoholic beverages if making alcohol available to guests
  - Never drink and drive
  - Do not let other adults drive after they have been drinking
  - Do not convey to your children the idea that alcohol is fun or glamorous through
  - stories about your own or others’ drinking
  - Do not portray alcohol as a good way to deal with stress, such as by saying, “I’ve had a bad day, I need a drink!”
  - Use healthy ways to cope with stress without alcohol, such as exercise, listening to music, or talking things over
Talk to your child about alcohol - Before talking to your child, take some time to prepare for the conversation.
  - What to talk about: Don’t present a permissive approach, talk about alcohol-related harms, the health benefits of choosing not to drink, and explain that their brain is still developing and is therefore more vulnerable to harm caused by alcohol.
  - Emphasise the short-term harms associated with alcohol.
  - Discuss perceptions: Ask your child what they think about alcohol. Ask them why they think young people drink.
  - Your expectations (with older adolescents): Discuss how, if your adolescent does drink, they should do so in moderation.
  - Explain your expectations for specific situations, such as at family celebrations, adolescent parties or "Schoolies Week". Discuss how risks associated with alcohol can be minimised
Establish family rules - Involve your adolescent in developing family rules for them to follow. Once established, make sure the family is clear on exactly what the rules are and that each member understands them.
  - Be prepared to negotiate on rules regarding minor matters, but do not change the family rules or consequences without first discussing it with your adolescent.
  - Review rules as your adolescent shows more maturity and responsibility.
  - Parents should support each other regarding family rules and present a united front in enforcing them.
  - Establish realistic consequences for when family rules are broken. Enforce established consequences consistently every time that family rules are broken
Monitor your adolescent when you are not around - Before your adolescent goes out, you should:
- Ask them where they will be, what they will be doing, and who they will be with
- Set a curfew and know what time to expect them home
- Make arrangements with them about how they will get home safely
- Ask them to contact you if their plans change
- Make sure they have a way to contact you
If giving them money, discuss how much they will need and how it will be spent
Prepare your adolescent to deal with the influence of peers Encourage positive friendships, enlist the support of other parents, and help them deal with peer pressure to drink
Preparing for unsupervised adolescent drinking - Discuss situations adolescents may be faced with where other people are misusing alcohol.
  - Help your adolescent to develop strategies for handling or removing themselves from situations involving alcohol misuse – offer to pick them up, talk about ways to minimise any potential embarrassment that may be associated with getting picked up.
  - Discuss drink spiking and other dangers
Establish and maintain a good relationship with your adolescent child There are a number of things you can do to establish and maintain a good relationship with your adolescent, such as:
  -Support them in pursuing their interests and in dealing with problems
  - Show an interest and be involved in their life
  - Work to create open communication between yourself and your adolescent
  - Cultivate their trust by being consistent in following through on promises and enforcing rules
  - Regularly demonstrate that you care about them
  - Regularly tell them that you love them