Unsupervised drinking

Know the range of settings in which unsupervised adolescent drinking occurs, as well as the range of sources that adolescents can obtain alcohol from. Be aware that the risks are greater when adolescents drink unsupervised in public places such as playgrounds or car parks.

Prepare your adolescent for situations where others misuse alcohol

Discuss with your adolescent situations they may be faced with where other people are misusing alcohol. Help your adolescent to develop strategies for handling or removing themselves from situations involving alcohol misuse. Make it clear to your adolescent the ways in which you will support them, such as offering to pick them up. Tell your adolescent to call you if ever faced with a situation involving alcohol and assure them that, whatever the circumstances, you will pick them up. Talk about ways to minimise any potential embarrassment that may be associated with getting picked up.

Discuss drink spiking and other dangers

Discuss strategies for minimising harm associated with alcohol when your adolescent is out with friends, such as sticking with their friends, not walking off alone, and ensuring that others know where they are. Talk to them about the dangers of drink spiking, for example, how someone can deliberately put a dangerous amount of alcohol in a drink with the aim of intoxicating another person, and how even non-alcoholic drinks can be spiked with alcohol. Discuss how they can protect themselves against drink spiking.

Warn about drink driving

Warn your adolescent about the dangers of getting into a car driven by someone who has been drinking. Make it a rule that your adolescent must never get into a car driven by someone who has been drinking. When your adolescent is going out, talk to the person driving and confirm that they will not be drinking. Establish a plan for when your adolescent is faced with a drink driver, such as agreeing to pay for a taxi or picking them up. Let your adolescent know that there will be no negative repercussions for calling you for a lift when faced with a situation involving a drink driver. Establish and enforce a rule that your adolescent must never drink alcohol and drive.

Protect your adolescent from alcohol misuse at parties

Providing your adolescent with alcohol for parties and gatherings increases the likelihood that they will misuse alcohol. Never supply alcohol to your adolescent’s friends. Do not allow your adolescent to attend a party that is not adequately supervised. Before allowing them to attend, contact the party host to confirm whether it will be adequately supervised. For example, find out:

  • Will a responsible adult be there?
  • Will alcohol be allowed?
  • Will alcohol consumption be regulated?
  • Is the party invitation-only?
  • What time will the party finish?

If you decide to let your adolescent attend, get the name and number of the responsible adult who will be supervising the party. Monitor your adolescent by checking in with the responsible adult. Make sure your adolescent has a safe ride with a responsible adult to and from the party.

Give positive feedback

It is important to give positive feedback when your adolescent follows the rules. If your adolescent has decided to call you to be picked up from a party or another situation where alcohol is being misused, make sure they know you are proud of them. Positive feedback increases the chances they will continue to follow the rules later.