How to Talk with Your Teen about Alcohol and Drugs

Jul 24, 2023

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As a parent, it's important to have open and honest conversations with your teen about alcohol and drugs. While it can be a difficult subject to broach, having these conversations can help prevent substance abuse and keep your teen safe.

Start the Conversation

The first step is to start the conversation. Find a time when you and your teen can talk without distractions. Be honest and direct about your concerns and make it clear that you're there to listen and offer support.

teen talking

Set Clear Expectations

It's important to set clear expectations for your teen when it comes to alcohol and drugs. Let them know that you expect them to make responsible choices and avoid substance abuse. Make it clear that there are consequences for breaking these expectations.


Provide Information

Make sure your teen has accurate information about the risks and consequences of substance abuse. Talk to them about the effects drugs and alcohol can have on their health, relationships, and future opportunities.


Listen and Be Supportive

It's important to listen to your teen and be supportive of their feelings and experiences. Try to understand their perspective and avoid being judgmental or dismissive.


Be a Role Model

As a parent, you are a role model for your teen. Make sure you're setting a good example by avoiding substance abuse yourself and modeling responsible behavior.

role model

Know the Warning Signs

It's important to know the warning signs of substance abuse so you can intervene early if necessary. Watch for changes in your teen's behavior, such as mood swings, changes in sleep patterns, and a decline in academic performance.

warning signs

Get Help if Needed

If you're concerned that your teen may be struggling with substance abuse, don't hesitate to seek help. Talk to your teen's doctor, a counselor, or a substance abuse specialist for guidance and support.

get help


Talking with your teen about alcohol and drugs can be a challenging but important conversation. By starting the conversation, setting clear expectations, providing information, listening and being supportive, being a role model, knowing the warning signs, and getting help if needed, you can help prevent substance abuse and keep your teen safe.