How to Help Your Teenager Stop Drinking


There are three basic areas that can be considered the causes of drinking. They are the areas of social, friendship, and personal identity. “Socially, experimenting with drinking creates an immediate niche for the teenager. At a time when fitting in is crucial, alcohol temporarily resolves any questions of acceptance,” says Dr. Michael Riera in the book Uncommon Sense for Parents with Teenagers. Drinking can bring a false sense of identity to teenagers. The following are some suggestions for dealing with a teenager who drinks.


  • Don't overreact in an inappropriate manner if you learn of your teen’s drinking: Panicking or losing your sense of control is something that will only help to make the matter worse. When you learn of your teenager’s drinking for the first time, you should approach him in a very mature manner by asking him to explain the situation to you. Try to determine the extent of your teenager’s drinking, which will help you to define any action you might need to take.

  • Don't pretend that there is not a problem: Accepting the fact that there is a problem is the first step in helping your teenager overcome her problem. Do not be embarrassed to look into early intervention programs that could be beneficial for both of you.


  • Discuss alcohol with your teen: “Adolescents look and test for congruency. In your conversations on this topic, clearly outline your position on alcohol; acknowledge the reality of the adolescent world; and discuss possible consequences of broken agreements. Again, let the consequences speak for themselves so that alcohol use doesn’t turn into a power struggle later," says Tom McMahon in the book Teen Tips.

  • Make yourself a resource to your teenager by providing a “way out”: Help your teenager learn how to say no to his friends, but do not leave him alone in his efforts. Occasionally when talking with his friends, he might need to blame you for not allowing him to go out with his friends or even for not participating in drinking. This might take some pressure off of your teenager for a time, but help him to realize that his friends will need to know his own personal standards in order for them to understand his actions completely.

  • Remember that health and safety are the bottom line: “No matter what poor decisions have been made, what rules have been violated, or what lies have been told, teenagers must know deep in the marrow of their bones that their overall safety far outweighs all other concerns” says Dr. Riera.

  • Find out why your teenager is involved with alcohol: Find out why your teenager feels a need to drink alcohol in social situations. Her reasons might go beyond what you possibly assumed, so it is important to allow her to speak to you openly about it.