Parenting Guidelines for Adolescent Alcohol Use

Purpose of these guidelines

These guidelines are designed to help parents prevent or reduce their adolescent child’s alcohol use, as recommended by the NHMRC Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol (2009).

How these guidelines were developed

The following guidelines are based on a systematic review of high quality research evidence and/or the opinions of a panel of 32 Australian experts with a minimum of five years experience in one of the following: treatment of adolescents with alcohol problems, research regarding adolescent drinking and parenting practices, drug and alcohol education for adolescents and/or parents. Details of the methodology can be found in: Ryan et al. (2011). Parenting to reduce adolescent alcohol consumption: A Delphi consensus study. BMC Public Health, 11(1), 13. The guidelines were the product of a collaboration between Orygen Youth Health Research Centre (University of Melbourne), Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre (Monash University and Eastern Health), and the Australian Drug Foundation, with funding from VicHealth.

How to use these guidelines

These guidelines are a general set of recommendations regarding how you as a parent can delay or reduce your child’s alcohol consumption. Each family is unique and it is important that you adapt the information provided in these guidelines to your situation. These guidelines were developed for preventing or reducing adolescent alcohol consumption in Australian families. While many of these strategies are likely to be relevant in other communities, they may need to be adapted for other cultural groups or countries.

To help you identify guidelines that are relevant to your family, we recommend that you complete the Survey before reading these Guidelines.

Although these guidelines are copyright, they can be freely reproduced for non-profit purposes provided the source is acknowledged.

Please cite these guidelines as follows: Parenting Strategies Program (2010). Parenting Guidelines for Adolescent Alcohol Use. Melbourne: Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, University of Melbourne.

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You can influence your adolescent’s choices about alcohol

As a parent you have a major influence on your adolescent child’s drinking behaviour and you can help prevent them from drinking alcohol or from harmful use. Your influence on your adolescent’s attitudes and decisions about alcohol is greatest before they start drinking. This guide describes a range of strategies you can use to prevent your adolescent from misusing alcohol. When choosing from these strategies, select approaches that are appropriate for your adolescent’s maturity and personality.