Parents & teens

5 reasons to talk to your teenager about alcohol

  1. As a parent, YOU are the strongest influence on your child’s attitudes and future behaviours towards alcohol

  2. Talking to your teenager about alcohol can help them to understand alcohol, its effects and ultimately shape their values, attitudes and behaviours.

  3. Many habits of young people are formed between 11 and 13 years. The example you set around alcohol, the home rules you establish and behaviours you allow are important.

  4. Teenagers who drink under parental supervision are more likely to binge drink unsafely than those who are encouraged to keep the legal age limit of 18. The earlier a person starts to drink alcohol, the more likely they will experience problems.

  5. Throughout childhood, the teenage years and up to 25 years, the brain is still developing.3 If alcohol is introduced at this time, it can impact on long-term brain function and contribute to future problems.

The conversation about alcohol will change as your child grows, and new topics will need to be introduced during the teenage years. Here are some age-appropriate topics to consider.

Age 10-12

Explain that:

Alcohol can affect brain development and your ability to concentrate, memorise and learn.

Drinking alcohol can cause you to behave out of character.

Your ability to participate in or perform well in sports and other hobbies is reduced.

Age 13-15

Explain that:

Alcohol comes in different strengths.

Alcohol can seriously impact your mental and physical health.

Drinking from an early age could lead to illegal drug use.

Drinking alcohol can affect how well you do in school.

Age 16-18

Explain that:

You should never ever drink and drive or get in a car with someone who has been drinking.

You might get in trouble with the Gardaí because drinking alcohol is against the law until you’re 18.

Drinking alcohol can lead to unsafe sexual behaviour.

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