Talking & Listening TIPS: Underage Drinking and Drug Use

Open the door to real conversations about underage drinking and drug use by talking face to face – often.  Listen. Take advantage of everyday opportunities to discuss teen substance use with your child, such as while watching TV, riding in a car, or eating a meal together. This is a conversation that needs to happen regularly and often.

Conversation Starters

Talking about underage drinking and drug use is not always easy. Here are some questions to help get the conversation flowing between you and your teen.

  • A recent survey of Iroquois County teens showed that many twelfth graders don’t think that their parents see any harm in drinking. Why do you think those teens felt this way?
  • When you and your friends get together, what do you consider to be a fun time? What are some local activities/hangouts that you would suggest to a teen who is new to town/looking for entertainment?
  • I know the teen years can be pretty stressful. What do you think is the hardest? How do you cope? What would you tell a friend who is having trouble coping?
  • What are some possible things you could say if you are offered alcohol, marijuana, or tobacco? (No, thanks...It's not worth the trouble.  I'm having fun without it.)
  • If you are ever in a peer pressure-related situation that you need help getting out of, what can you do? (Call or text parent. Say no. Walk away.)
  • I heard in the news that (a famous person) is struggling with drug/alcohol-related problems. As a person of influence, they are setting an example. What kind of example do you hope to set for those who look up to you?
  • I read how harmful alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco can be for a teenager. Do you know some of the negative effects these substances can have on a teen? (Negative effects of alcohol include: increased risk of addiction/suicide/sexual assaults, brain damage, problems with school work and behavior, etc.  Negative side effects of marijuana or tobacco can include: increased risk of addiction, lack of self-control, learning issues, trouble concentrating, and mood changes.)
  • Did you know that alcohol is actually a depressant? Although individuals who are drinking can at first appear to be happy and care-free, this feeling does not last. In fact, alcohol can leave people feeling angry, sad, or depressed.
  • What do you hope to accomplish in the future? Do you think that drinking and drug use might keep you from achieving these plans?