Be a good role model

Parents are important role models for their children, even during adolescence. Your attitude towards alcohol, what you drink, how much, when and where you drink are all a major influence on whether or how your adolescent will drink in the future. This influence begins at a very early age. Warning your adolescent about the dangers of drinking will not be effective if you do not set a good example yourself.

If you drink, you should model responsible drinking by establishing and following your own rules for drinking responsibly (see box on Tips for modelling responsible drinking). Explain these rules to your adolescent.

Tips for modelling responsible drinking:

  • 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