Talking to Teens About Underage Drinking

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 10,874 people died in 2017 as a result of drunk driving–this being slightly over the steady average of 10,000 lives lost per year (NHTSA, n.d.). Underage drinking is a contributor to the elevated number of DUI-related deaths. There are several intervention methods that can be used to prevent underage drinking; however, parents talking to their kids about the dangers of alcohol consumption is one of the most effective ways to prevent the behavior. Studies have shown that teenagers are 6X more likely to develop an alcohol addiction and 7X more likely to drink and drive if they begin drinking at age 15 or younger (MADD, 2019). Therefore, it is imperative that parents begin to have conversations with their children about drinking early and often.

Here are some quick tips for talking with kids about alcohol consumption:

  • Communicate early before a problem starts
  • Show you care
  • Pay attention to their behaviors, activities, and when they speak
  • Plan family activities
  • Enforce consequences and exhibit disapproval of negative behaviors


Additional Resources

Talking to Your Teen: Underage Drinking

“Talk. They Hear You.”®

“Talk. They Hear You.”®: SAMHSA Campaign 

Download the “Talk. They Hear You.”® App  for conversation starter ideas and tips!



Mothers Against Drunk Driving. (2019). Statistics. Retrieved April 9, 2019, from Mothers Against Drunk Driving website:

National Highway Traffic Safet Administration. (n.d.). Drunk Driving. Retrieved May 17, 2019, from United States Department of Transportation website: