Parents often try to be friends with their children. It's more important to be a parent—to establish rules, set limits and help children learn to be safe and healthy.
- Set clear rules and discuss in advance the consequences of breaking them.
- Consistently enforce the rules.
- Have teens check in at regular times when they are away from home or school.
- Call parents whose home is used for a party (offer to help with snacks or supervision).
- Make it easy for your teen to leave a party where alcohol is being used.
- Listen to your instincts—don't be afraid to intervene if your gut reaction tells you something is wrong.
- Use "teachable moments" to talk to your teen about alcohol use.
Research shows that young people are less likely to use alcohol if their parents set clear rules about not doing so. (Journal of Studies on Alcohol)
The bottom line for parents is this: do not be vague about your expectations for your kids. Let them know in no uncertain terms that you do not approve of underage drinking. Set high expectations for your kids and for their school environment. And show them through your own behavior how you live by those expectations.