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5 Conversation Goals

Research suggests that one of the most important factors in healthy child development is a strong, open relationship with a parent. It is important to start talking to your children about alcohol and other drugs before they are exposed to them.

Use These 5 Goals When Talking to Kids about
Alcohol and Other Drugs

1. Show you disapprove of underage drinking and other drug misuse.

Over 80 percent of young people ages 10–18 say their parents are the leading influence on their decision whether to drink. Send a clear and strong message that you disapprove of underage drinking and misuse of other drugs.

2. Show you care about your child’s health, wellness, and success.

Young people are more likely to listen when they know you’re on their side. Reinforce why you don’t want your child to drink or use other drugs—because you want your child to be happy and safe. The conversation will go a lot better if you’re open and you show concern.

3. Show you’re a good source of information about alcohol and other drugs.

You want your child to make informed decisions about alcohol and other drugs with reliable information about their dangers. You don’t want your child to learn about alcohol and other drugs from unreliable sources. Establish yourself as a trustworthy source of information.

4. Show you’re paying attention and you’ll discourage risky behaviors.

Show you’re aware of what your child is up to, as young people are more likely to drink or use other drugs if they think no one will notice. Do this in a subtle way, without prying.

5. Build your child’s skills and strategies for avoiding underage drinking and drug use.

Even if you don’t think your child wants to drink or try other drugs, peer pressure is a powerful thing. Having a plan to avoid alcohol and drug use can help children make better choices. Talk with your child about what they would do if faced with a decision about alcohol and drugs, such as texting a code word to a family member or practicing how they’ll say “no thanks.”

Keep it low-key. Don’t worry, you don’t have to get everything across in one talk. Plan to have many short talks.

Last Updated: 07/08/2020

“Talk. They Hear You.” Application

Practice talking to your kids about the dangers of alcohol.

Prepare for one of the most important conversations you may ever have with your kids about underage drinking. SAMHSA’s “Talk. They Hear You.” app is available on desktop computers and on the go from the App StoreSMGoogle Play™, the Windows® Store, and Windows® Phone Store.

   

   

“About the “Talk. They Hear You.” App

The app features an interactive simulation that helps you learn the do’s and don’ts of talking to kids about underage drinking. Using avatars, you will:

  • Practice bringing up the topic of alcohol

  • Learn the questions to ask

  • Get ideas for keeping the conversation going

This requires the free Unity Web Player plugin

Learn more about goals for this important conversation and find other tips and information about helping to prevent underage drinking on the Parent Resources page.

Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

Google Play is a trademark of Google Inc.

Microsoft, Windows, the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.

Last Updated: 04/23/2020

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