Your Role as a Parent

As a parent, you are expected to protect your children from harm and build their independence. It’s a tough assignment, but there is help out there.

Alcohol and other substance abuse problems are not easy topics to deal with—they are complex issues. On this page you will find a list of useful first steps to take at home. We recognize that parents also need support from their peers as well as health professionals, and we have listed some contacts you can reach for support in our Getting Help section.

For a printable copy of this material, see Your Role.

Your Opinion Matters — Really

You may not always feel like the most popular person in the world, but your children probably respect you a lot more than you realize. Children care about their parents’ opinions, even if they don’t show it directly. In fact, the key reason kids give for not drinking is that they do not want to disappoint their parents.

Starting at an early age, there are some basic steps you can take with your children to minimize their risk for underage alcohol use:

Studies have shown that parents who practice these steps are more likely to raise 10- and 11-year-old children who see alcohol use as harmful, and 17- to 18-year-olds who are less likely to drink.

Every Vermont child and family is different, and there is no single magical solution, but the following steps have been proven to help.

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Be Active

Don’t assume that your children will know how you feel about underage drinking. You must take an active role in shaping their perceptions about alcohol use:

If you have questions about your own alcohol drinking habits, you can find links to more information in our Getting Help and Links sections.

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Older Children

Your older children can have an influence on their younger siblings. If an older child drinks, she may encourage her younger siblings to do the same - even unintentionally. Ask your older children to encourage healthy habits in front of younger brothers and sisters.

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Limit Access to Alcohol

You can affect your children’s risk of drinking by limiting their access to alcohol and setting a positive example:

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When Your Child Attends a Party

If your child is going to a party, here are some things to keep in mind:

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Planning a Safe Party

Hosting an alcohol-free party is a fun way to be a part of your child’s life while encouraging healthy behavior. Here are some helpful guidelines for planning a successful event:

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When You Are Away

If you go out of town and leave your teenager at home, there are a few things you should do before you leave:

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