Alcohol: the important role of adult influencers
Adults can influence alcohol drinking behaviours by youth.
Help them make healthy choices about their alcohol use by building their developmental assets
Do you want to help youth make healthy choices about their alcohol use?
It comes down to resiliency—the ability to “bounce back” from difficult situations and make healthier choices when coping with life’s struggles.
As an adult influencer you can help youth build developmental assets®. Developmental assets are building blocks that help young people grow into healthy, caring, and responsible individuals.
One of the most important building blocks is having a healthy, meaningful relationship with an adult. In turn, youth are more inclined to respect boundaries and to show healthy decision making when they are surrounded by adults who are affectionate and understanding, yet who exercise firm discipline and hold high expectations for them.
What can you do?
- Talk to youth early and often about alcohol in developmentally appropriate ways.
- Have specific rules about drinking alcohol from a young age, and be consistent in setting expectations and enforcing rules. Youth listen more when messages are conveyed with authority and consistency.
- Be clear and respectful in your interactions with them, and be attentive and understanding of their concerns and opinions.
- Youth who know the expectations that their adult role models have about under-age drinking are more likely to follow them. So tell them!
- Always model responsible alcohol consumption. Youth will be less likely to use alcohol, too.
- Work with other adults to monitor where youth are gathering and what they are doing. Being involved in their lives is key to keeping them safe.
- Work in and with the community to promote dialogue about underage drinking and the creation and implementation of action steps to address it.
- Be aware of government laws about providing alcohol to youth.
Never provide alcohol to a young person who is not your child. Although all adults play a part, a young person’s leading influence in making decisions about drinking is a parent or guardian.
Want to learn more?
If you are a parent or guardian, visit:
- Parent Action on Drugs for current information about:
- alcohol and other drugs that are used by youth
- understanding how youth think and behave
- helpful tips on how to have meaningful conversations with your child
- Strategies for Parents to prevent underage drinking:
- Learn about the six effective parenting strategies
- Talk to your child early about alcohol:
- Find out what early alcohol use is linked to
- Tips to help delay your child’s use of alcohol
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This item was last modified on March 16, 2017