The Family Campaign

Click on the images for Spanish translation.

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Your teen still needs you to champion their dreams. You can do this by sharing how underage drinking can affect their brain’s ability to think clearly and accomplish their goals.

How can you help your teen see the harmful impact of underage drinking on their goals?

  • Watch your delivery: When sharing the risks of alcohol with your child, the tone of your voice and the way you frame your message matters. Try to keep an encouraging tone, and keep the conversation positive.

  • Focus on the facts: Avoid opinions. Instead, find research that backs the risks of underage drinking, like how it can harm the developing brain.

  • Make the connection: Consider making a plan with your teen so they can see the steps they need to take to reach their dreams. Then talk about the impact alcohol could have on that plan.


Your teen’s goals are real, but so are the risks of underage drinking. 

Help your child believe both. Check out the following resources: 

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Ways to Discourage Your Teen from Underage Drinking

According to research, parental involvement in a teen’s life can affect their choice not to drink alcohol while underage. Although teenagers may seem self-sufficient, it’s still important for parents to play an active role in their life.


Parental involvement can include nurturance, monitoring, spending time together and parent-adolescent communication. These factors are important in a parent-child relationship. They may affect the influence parents have on their children.

Parental Nurturance

Parental nurturance comes down to emotional warmth and support. As a parent, you can show nurturance by speaking positively to your teen, encouraging their goals, and  validating their feelings.


A study revealed that this type of parenting affects an underage teen’s choice to drink. High parental nurturance is associated with delay in the initiation of alcohol use.


If your teen comes home in a bad mood because they did poorly on a test, don’t dismiss their feelings. Instead, you can reassure them that a test score doesn’t define their  aptitude and that you’re still proud of them.

Parental Monitoring

Parental monitoring includes the expectations parents have for their teen’s behavior, the actions parents take to keep track of their teen and the ways parents respond when their teen breaks the rules.


You are using parental monitoring when you ask your teen:

  • Where will you be?

  • Whom will you be with?

  • When will you be home?


You are also monitoring when you:

  • Check-in with your teen by phone, text or social media.

  • Get to know their friends and their parents.

  • Set and enforce rules for your teen’s behavior by clearly explaining the rules and consequences and following through when the rules are broken.


Research shows that teens whose parents use effective monitoring practices are less likely to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, be physically aggressive or skip school.

Intentional Time Together

Parenting teens may be more critical and more difficult as they get older. Even if you or your teen have busy schedules, make time to spend with your teen and have conversations.


As your child gets older and likely experiences more freedom, they are also more likely to encounter situations where alcohol or other substances are present. That is why it is essential to prepare your teen for these situations and set clear expectations for your teen not to drink underage.


Get in the habit of talking with your teen daily, even if it is right before they head out to school or over a meal. When you normalize communication in your household, it is also easier to discuss the risks of underage drinking.

Good Communication

Good communication with your teen is as important as frequent communication. No parent communicates perfectly with their teen, but an effort to improve communication is vital. Strong communication starts with solid listening. To encourage your teen to hear you, be sure that you’re really listening to them.


Even when you and your teen don’t see eye-to-eye or their input doesn’t change your decisions, you can still give them room to speak. Don’t come to any conversation with a hidden agenda. Work on being open-minded and transparent.


1.De Witte, P., & Mitchell Jr., M. C. (Eds.) 2012. Underage Drinking: A Report on Drinking in the Second Decade of Life in Europe and North America. Presses universitaires de Louvain. Retrieved from

2. Brendgen M, Vitaro R, Tremblay RE, et al. Reactive and proactive aggression: Predictions to physical violence in different contexts and moderating effects of parental monitoring and caregiving behavior. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 2001;29(4):293–304.

3. Choquet M, Hassler C, Morin D, et al. Perceived parenting styles and tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use among French adolescents: gender and family structure differentials. Alcohol & Alcoholism 2008;43(1):73–80.

4. Cota-Robles S, Gamble W. Parent-adolescent processes and reduced risk for delinquency: the effect of gender for Mexican American adolescents. Youth & Society 2006;37(4):375–392.

5. Li X, Feigelman S, Stanton B. Perceived parental monitoring and health risk behaviors among urban low-income African-American children and adolescents. Journal of adolescent health 2000;27(1):43–48.

6. Markham CM, Lormand D, Gloppen KM, et al. Connectedness as a predictor of sexual and reproductive health outcomes for youth. Journal of Adolescent Health 2010;46(3 Suppl1):S23– S41.

7. Penn State. (2012, August 21). Time with parents is important for teens’ well-being. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 28, 2021 from


Here you will find the Substance Use Prevention Parent Campaign media. 


Check back every month for new materials, information, conversation starters, and other actionable ways to continue youth substance use prevention efforts.

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