Let your child know you care about their future.

Give them some good reasons why you don’t want them to drink. Encourage them to add to your list.

  • You want them to do well in school.
  • You want them to have self-respect.
  • You want them to stay safe and healthy.
  • You want them to stay out of trouble.
  • You want them to grow up to realize their full potential.
  • You don’t want them to face the long-term challenges of alcoholism later in life.

Don’t just tell your kids not to drink. Help them stay away from situations where underage drinking can occur.

Good ways to help them not start drinking:

  • Don’t wait to bring the topic up — let them know that underage drinking matters to you and that you will be paying attention.
  • Let them know you understand there will be pressures to drink, and they can come talk to you about it.
  • Boredom is one reason kids start drinking. Help them pursue activities — sports, the school play, band, Scouts, 4-H — that help them dream and develop their gifts and self-esteem. When kids are busy and part of a productive group, they’re less likely to turn to negative things like alcohol.
  • Let them know you love them, you value them and that they matter. When kids feel like they have a strong sense of identity and security, they’re less likely to seek approval and succumb to peer pressure later.
Illustration of a dinner party with a kid holding a glass of wine.

2 in 5 PA parents find it acceptable for kids to drink alcohol on "special occasions"

About the same percentage of parents (37%) believe it’s natural for children to experiment with alcohol and trust their child to experiment responsibly.

Tip: To help your child avoid the risks associated with alcohol, it’s important to learn the facts. It’s illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drink alcohol – regardless of the situation. And children who begin drinking at an early age can be four times more likely to have problems with alcohol later in life.

Dear Parent

If there’s alcohol abuse or addiction in your family, consider using situations your child has seen as teachable moments.