Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size

Your Child and Alcohol

Talk to Your Kids About Alcohol

Building a trusting relationship is key to teaching kids about responsible drinking. That helps them refuse alcohol, gain confidence, resist peer pressure, and know your expectations.

  • Show your child she can talk to you about anything. She’ll listen. It may not always seem so, but parents have a lot of influence on kids’ behavior.
  • Get involved in your child’s life. Know his friends and his whereabouts. Spend time with him daily.
  • If you drink, model healthy behavior. Don’t say you need to after a bad day. Don’t do it excessively, and never drink and drive.
  • Show your child other ways to relax, like exercise or music.
  • Use natural opportunities to start conversations, like when a beer commercial comes on or when someone at a restaurant drinks.
  • Be clear that underage drinking is not OK. Getting that message from their parents is the main reason kids say no to it.
  • Have your child practice saying “no” through role-playing, brainstorming, or just chatting.
  • Give information fitting your child’s maturity. Talk about alcohol dangers. Use short, simple comments and repeat them.
  • Give an older kid more specifics about alcohol’s effects and how it impacts your decision-making.
  • Talk about peer pressure. Help her recognize that good friends don’t push you to drink.

When to Start Talking

This may come as a shock, but the average age a child first tries alcohol is 11. Many kids are curious sooner. Some experts say you should start talking to them about it as early as age 9.

“It’s never too early to talk about it,” says Caitlin Abar, PhD, a SUNY Brockport psychologist who studies parenting influences on teen drinking.

Talk to him about it again before he heads off to college. These messages stick and can help keep him safe.

Keep on the Right Side of the Law

Depending on what state you live in, letting your kid drink at home may get you in legal trouble.

In all U.S. states, the minimum drinking age is 21, and it’s illegal to give alcohol to minors.

Thirty-one states have exceptions if the child’s parents are providing the alcohol.

In some states, hosting teen parties that have alcohol is a crime, leading to jail or fines. You also risk being sued for injuries or damages.

1 | 2
Reviewed on April 18, 2014

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
mother and daughter talking
child brushing his teeth
Sipping hot tea
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
rl with friends
tissue box
Child with adhd