Monitor your child

Adolescents are more likely to misuse alcohol when adults are not around. Monitoring your adolescent’s whereabouts and activities when they are unsupervised reduces the likelihood that they will misuse alcohol. Monitoring refers to knowing about your adolescent’s activities, whereabouts and friends. You should especially know where they are if they or others may be drinking.

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

Tell your adolescent that you are monitoring their activities not because you are nosey, but because you care about their safety. Most adolescents appreciate their parents monitoring their activities and see it as proof of their parents’ concern for their wellbeing.

Be aware that although monitoring your adolescent’s activities is important in protecting them from alcohol misuse, being overly strict or harsh may cause your adolescent to rebel by misusing alcohol. Try to balance monitoring with your adolescent’s need for privacy and adjust your monitoring as your adolescent matures to encourage their growing independence.