Tips for talking about alcohol


Photo: bachmont

  • It’s never too early to start talking about drinking - and never too late to catch up.
  • Don’t react – act! - introduce the topic gradually. Take the initiative. If and when you really need to talk about it, you’ll already have made some points and be ready for more.
  • Find out what they know - start by asking open-ended questions and listening. Try saying something like, 'tell me what you know about spirits' to find out what they think and believe.
  • Get the tone right - listening as much as you talk encourages young people to pay attention and open up. Try not to seem judgemental, critical or disapproving.
  • Get the timing right - starting a discussion just as they’re leaving to meet friends, or before bed, or in the middle of an argument only leads to conflict. Instead, try chatting over a meal.
  • Choose a neutral location - side-by-side in a car or on the sofa, or while you're cooking or washing up: somewhere that everyone can be relaxed and positive. 
  • Be impromptu - a soap storyline, a  film or TV drama, a celebrity scandal involving drink, even gossip about family or friends can all offer an opportunity to find out what they think and start a conversation. 
  • Be honest - if you get caught out saying one thing and doing another, they'll write off everything you say as hypocritical. 

You don’t have to be the one with all the answers when it comes to talking to your child about underage drinking. All you have to do is to be the one they come to with most of the questions. You can find some FAQs at

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