A guide for talking to kids by Age
Preschoolers aren’t ready for a lot of information about alcohol. But you can set a good example by drinking responsibly (or not at all), being active, and eating healthy. If kids do have questions about alcohol, answer them simply and honestly.
Talk about alcohol when it comes up naturally. For example, if you’re watching TV and you see an ad for alcohol, you can ask your child if they know how drinking alcohol affects the body. Keep the info simple: Alcohol slows down the body and mind. It makes it hard to know things like when water is too deep or a car comes too close. And it gives people bad breath! If your child asks why it’s OK for grownups to drink but not kids, explain that drinking can damage a growing body and increases the risk of drinking problems later in life.
Kids this age can hear about the effects of alcohol and why it’s dangerous for growing bodies and minds.
You can talk about short-term effects of alcohol, like:
And its long-term effects, such as
Kids this age want to fit in with their friends. Teach your child the importance of thinking and acting as an individual.
The teen years are a time to be a good listener and keep the lines of communication open. Keep setting a good example. Even if your kids don’t seem to be hearing what you say, studies show that parents really do influence teens’ behaviours.
Talk about good reasons not to drink, such as:
Teens want to be liked and accepted by friends. Help yours work through different situations so they’re ready. What can they say at a party when someone offers them a drink? What if someone they’re supposed to drive with is drinking? Brainstorm together and let your teen know they can always call or text you and you will pick them up with no lecturing or punishment.
Parents are role models, even to teens. So set a good example by drinking responsibly (or not at all), not using alcohol as a stress reliever, and never driving after drinking. Regular, honest talks with your kids will help them make good decisions.
Still, parents should watch for problems and set rules. Ask your child to be honest with you if they do try alcohol. If you think your child has been drinking and hasn’t told you, don’t ignore it. If you think there’s a serious problem, your child’s doctor can help.
Other things you can do: