Reducing risk and harm

Did you know?
Even one episode of very risky drinking can cause acute brain damage

Managing alcohol and your teen

If you decide to buy alcohol for your teenager, they still need to know that you have expectations about how much they'll drink, and how they'll stay safe.

Here are some tips for talking about staying safe and in control when drinking.

  • Talk about how bigger amounts of alcohol have bigger impacts on the body. The medical risks related to small amounts are far lower than those associated with drinking large amounts, bingeing or drinking to get drunk.
  • Encourage your teenager to use sensible tactics to keep track of how much they've drunk, and manage their drinking. Show them how to calculate the number of standard drinks they've had, and suggest that they alternate alcohol with water or other non-alcoholic drinks and eat before and during drinking.
  • Suggest that it's a good idea for someone in their group to stay sober, so that they can monitor how much people are drinking, encourage and help them to stay safe, and intervene if trouble arises.
  • Ask your teenager for a firm plan about how they'll get home. Let them know that public transport, taxis, designated drivers and calling home for a lift are all fine - but make it clear that driving drunk, or riding with a drunk driver is entirely out of bounds.
  • Encourage your teenager to talk to their friends about keeping each other safe.
  • Find out who your teenager is going out with, exactly where they're going, and when they'll be home. Ask them to let you know straight away if their plans change.
  • Organise agreed times for them or you to ‘check in'.