It’s a No-Brainer: Talk to Your Kids About Alcohol

Some adults drink alcohol, and of those adults, they may drink in front of their kids. What if the child asks for a sip? Does this sound familiar? We tell them no because it’s just for “big people.” What do you say when they ask you why? Thank them for asking, and take the opportunity to talk about it with your kids.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 10.1 million Americans between the ages of 12 and 20 consumed alcohol in the past 30 days. That’s almost a third of under-aged kids.

Of the many reasons why you mention drinking is not allowed, they might relate to this when you reply, “It’s a no-brainer!” Explain that alcohol consumption can affect their brain. And, when they receive pressure for peers, they can always respond with, “Dude, it’s a no-brainer. I’m a thinker, not a drinker.”

Let them know you can talk to them about anything, including alcohol:

1. Take every opportunity to talk.
2. Utilize a recent news event or article as a way of raising the issue.
3. Give your reaction to it.
1. Ask them for their thoughts.
2. Listen to what they have to say and avoid criticism.
3. Learn from each other.

Short of delivering a science report, give them plenty of information on how alcohol can affect them and offer ways to say “NO!”:

1. A young brain exposed to alcohol may have long-lasting intellectual handicaps. “I’m smarter than I look.”

2. Alcohol can slow your reflexes, causing you to lose balance. “I’m in control.”

4. Large amounts of alcohol can shut down your system, sending you into a coma. “I’m going to enjoy the rest of my 90 years, thanks!”

5. Drinking alcohol can become a negative distraction, not only from study, but sport, creative pursuits, family life and socializing with friends. “You may be a follower, but I’m a leader, so follow me.”

They’re still looking to you for guidance, so talk often and encourage them to speak openly. Find more great tips and tools for kids, parents and teachers at Ask, Listen, Learn.

Marisa Finetti

Social media-driven, passionate about living healthy, and writing about both. Marisa Finetti has been published in a number of magazines on topics of spa and wellness, and has her own blogs on social media and health: Best Be Well,Spa Pixie and Social Media Siren.

10 thoughts on “It’s a No-Brainer: Talk to Your Kids About Alcohol

  • March 30, 2011 at 3:26 am

    It is not easy to talk with child about alcohol because some it will create bad effect also in the mind of child, I never like to drink in the front of mine child because after some time may be they also try to copy mine style or they also try to treat like I behave.

    • March 30, 2011 at 12:14 pm

      Jenny: You’re absolutely right. Teaching by example is so important! Thank you for commenting.

  • November 23, 2010 at 4:45 am

    Good ideas noted above.

    I’d just like to add a statistic to emphasize the importance of educating your children about the dangers of alcohol use.

    A child who consumes alcohol before the age of 15 is FOUR TIMES more likely to develop problems with alcohol than those who put off drinking until they are 21.

    I am one of these statistics. I had my first drink when I was 13 and continued to drink throughout my teenage years, eventually ending up in rehab for alcoholism and various other addictions.

    Admittedly there were other factors at play in my addictions developing, but if you can encourage your children not to drink then that is step in the right direction.

  • November 5, 2010 at 9:02 am

    This is a great article, if only to inspire parents to talk to their kids about alcohol. However, please do not teach your child to say, “Dude, it’s a no-brainer. I’m a thinker, not a drinker.” This could very well lead to teasing and ridicule. Please if you’re going to teach your kids how to say no to alcohol, at least give them a better response than that. =)

    • November 5, 2010 at 9:29 am

      Project Swole: I truly appreciate your comment and yes, there are so many other (and better) ways to saying no. Hopefully, a child, together with his/her parent, will role play scenarios and come up with responses that they feel most comfortable with.

  • November 4, 2010 at 1:24 am

    Great article. Might even show them your visual comparison of a normal brain and an alcoholic’s brain.

  • November 3, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Hi Marisa, thanks again for your article contribution. There’s been a lot of news surround the dangers and costs of alcohol consumption on society lately. These are some great tips for parents to talk openly with their children.

  • November 3, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Hi Marisa,

    Thanks for sharing this information! I especially like your tips on how to we can talk to out children about alcohol.

    Take care,



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