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Coronavirus: Be responsible. Be safe

Health information and advice to stop the spread of coronavirus

Managing resistance with a teenager about drinking alcohol

While it can be useful to negotiate and compromise a little, don’t give in to pressure.

Listen to any objections, but once you have made your mind up, don’t get drawn into any more discussion. Repeat your position and let them deal with it.

Have your answers ready. Here are some examples you could use.

Everyone else is allowed to go
I know you don’t want to feel the odd one out, but it’s my job to do what I think is safest. I’m not happy about you being there with no adults when people are going to be drinking.

You don’t need to worry. I can look after myself, I’m not stupid
'I know you’re not stupid. That’s why I’m letting you go. But if you want that freedom, you have to stay in contact with me so I know that you’re safe.'

Everyone else will be bringing a few cans
'I know you feel left out, but you can still have a good time without drinking. I’m not going to give you alcohol while you’re underage. It's an unhealthy thing for you to do.'

You don’t understand. It’s just a bit of fun
'I do understand why you want to drink. And I know it can be fun. Kids get hurt and injured every day and do things they regret when they’re drunk. I care about you and I’m not going to put you in that position. You can have fun without alcohol.'

Be understanding

Teenagers are under a lot of pressure and can feel very vulnerable. They need the security of knowing you’re on their side and want to keep them safe.

How parents can help young people with alcohol peer pressure

Friends are a big part of their life. They are more likely to drink or take drugs if their friends do.

Peer pressure can also be positive. If your child is the risk-taker, their friends may be the ones urging them not to drink or use drugs.

Some people think that giving a child a small amount of alcohol can help them to drink more responsibly. This is not true. The earlier young people start to drink, the more likely they are to develop problems.

Let them know that they can say no

Some reasons they could use are that they:

  • would be in trouble if they go home drunk
  • have to get up early tomorrow for training
  • prefer to stay sober
  • don't like the idea of being out of control
  • feel ill if they drink alcohol - they would enjoy the night more without it

Sometimes it's better to avoid a situation where they will be under a lot of pressure.

Be there for them

Teenagers are under a lot of pressure and can feel vulnerable. They need the security of knowing that you are on their side and want to keep them safe.

Talk to their friends' parents

If you’re worried, it can help to talk to friends’ parents. If other parents are worried too, see if you can set some rules together.

Let their friends know what your rules are

It can reduce pressure on your child if their friends know your rules.

Some rules might be:

  • they have a fixed time to be home
  • you will call their friends’ parents if necessary
  • their friends will not be allowed to bring alcohol into your house

Role play situations with them

You could 'role play' what they could say and do in a situation where they were feeling under pressure.

Related topics

Setting boundaries with young people around alcohol

page last reviewed: 08/11/2019
next review due: 08/11/2022

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