Monitoring Your Child

Your teens are always at risk for underage drinking, and there are countless opportunities for them to test the limits—that's their job as teenagers.

Our job as parents is to set clear boundaries and monitor our children—where they go, what they do, how they act and more. This kind of monitoring is not a violation of trust. It should be a regular and expected part of parenting throughout the pre-teen and teen years.

Your teen expects you to keep her from drinking. It is okay to monitor what she does. We've tried to make it easier by providing helpful information and tips on what you can do to prevent underage drinking.

It can be hard and uncomfortable to begin the process of monitoring your child for alcohol use—especially during the teen years when arguments and hurt feelings can make things even tougher. To help you get started, we have listed three levels of actions for each tip. If you already do the first step, move on to the next one. If you’re not doing any, you can start with the basics and move up as you feel comfortable.

Check In Often

GOOD

BETTER

BEST

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Be Up and Be Ready

GOOD

BETTER

BEST

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Checklist for Parents

For a printable copy of this information, see Checklist for Parents.

Before your teen goes out, make sure you talk with her about the following:

When your teen returns, check for the following:

Talk about what happened while your teen was out:

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Parent Reminders

Here is a list of actions and attitudes that can help you reduce underage drinking:

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Be Active Online

If your children spend a lot of time online, ask them what kinds of websites they like to use, and if they are members of any social networking sites like Facebook or Myspace. If you don’t have an account on one of these sites, set one up yourself or ask your child to do it with you. Being familiar with these sites will help you understand how your children talk with their friends. Inviting your children to add you to their "friend" list will open another line of communication that your children are already using.

For tips on texting, visit our Text Your Teen section.

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