General Tips for Protecting Children from Alcohol Abuse

Fortunately, parents can do much to protect their kids from using and abusing alcohol:

  • Be a good role model. Consider how your use of alcohol or medications may influence your kids. Consider offering only nonalcoholic beverages at parties and other social events to show your kids that you don’t need to drink to have fun.
  • Educate yourself about alcohol so you can be a better teacher. Read and collect information that you can share with kids and other parents.
  • Try to be conscious of how you can help build your child’s self-esteem. For example,
  • Kids are more likely to feel good about themselves if you emphasize their strengths and positively reinforce healthy behaviours.
  • Teach kids to manage stress in healthy ways, such as by seeking help from a trusted adult or engaging in a favorite activity.

Teaching Kids to Say “No”

  • Teach kids a variety of approaches to deal with offers of alcohol:
  • Encourage them to ask questions. If a drink of any kind is offered, they should ask,
  • “What is it?” and “Where did you get it?”
  • Teach them to say “no, thanks” when the drink offered is an alcoholic one.
  • Remind them to leave any uncomfortable situation. Make sure they have money for transportation or a phone number where you or another responsible adult can be reached.
  • Teach kids never to accept a ride from someone who has been drinking. Some parents find that offering to pick up their kids from an uncomfortable situation — no questions asked — helps encourage kids to be honest and call when they need help.

Risk Factors:

  • Times of transition, such as the onset of puberty or a parents’ divorce, can lead kids to alcohol use. So teach your kids that even when life is upsetting or stressful, drinking al- cohol as an escape can make a bad situation much worse.
  • Kids who have problems with self-control or low self-esteem are more likely to abuse alcohol. They may not believe that they can handle their problems and frustrations without using something to make them feel better.
  • Kids without a sense of connectedness with their families or who feel different in some way (appearance, economic circumstances, etc.) may also be at risk. Those who find it hard to believe in themselves desperately need the love and support of parents or other family members.
  • In fact, not wanting to harm the relationships between themselves and the adults who care about them is the most common reason that young people give for not using alcohol and other drugs.