Should you drink?

Teenagers will often say, “But you drink!” when you make it clear that they shouldn’t. But the fact of the matter is that adults are allowed to drink alcohol and that teenagers below the age of 18 aren’t. Just because your teenager isn’t allowed to drive a car, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t drive, and it’s the same with drinking alcohol. Your attitude to alcohol will, however, affect the way your child views it. Just remember: you’re a role model for your kids.


Tell your teenager what you think about alcohol and drinking. Talk about why you drink and about why adults are allowed to drink but children aren’t. And it’s one thing to have glass of wine, getting drunk is another. Regardless, talking about what to do in different situations is a good idea. You might, for example, want to decide that one member of the household will stay sober if your child is out. That can be good, if something were to happen and your teenager needed you to come and get them.


Be clear that teenagers shouldn’t  drink. The fact that adults do is a different matter, they’re old enough to take responsibility for themselves. Don’t give way because you’re worried about a potential row, or because conflict makes you uncomfortable. You can show that you’re willing to discuss the subject and help your child develop their own opinions. But you’re the adult – which means your opinions are important and that you have to take responsibility by deciding what goes in your family.


Drinking habits can easily be passed on to the next generation. Children who grow up in families where alcohol is abused or is a problem are at risk, and their consumption is influenced both by their family’s situation and genetic factors. If a family member is a problem drinker, help and support is available, both for the teenager and for the adult. Two useful websites are and Through Alkoholprofilen you answer a few simple questions which in turn will give you a picture of your alcohol consumption levels. It’s a test worth doing, and the results can be interesting for a wide range of reasons. You’ll find tips about organisations you can contact for support and more information here.

More to read about the same topic

Yes or no?

The clearer you communicate your expectations, the easier it is for your teenager to take a stand or do what you say. Also, think about what sort of message and values you’re conveying to your child.

Useful contacts and more info

It can sometimes be good to talk to someone who knows a bit more about teenagers and alcohol, or about anything else, for that matter.

If you want to do more

There’s a lot you can do to support and be there for teenagers. Maybe you can take part in night-time patrols, or make it easier for them to say “no”, or help promote a smarter approach to alcohol in some other way.

Other important topics to read about

Teenagers and alcohol

There are many considerations that can easily arise when your child becomes a teenager. But first and foremost: how do young people think about drinking themselves? And why is it more dangerous to drink alcohol in adolescence than as an adult?

Take responsibility

Maybe you sometimes feel pretty helpless as a parent. But there’s a lot you can do. As always showing that you care, that you’re there and that you are happy to listen. And often it’s important to be clear about what you expect of your teenager.

If parents are not around

Festivals, home parties and trips abroad are examples of situations where adults are rarely present. There are some pitfalls that you, as a parent, should be aware of and that you can teach your teenager how to handle.

The teenage years

The teenage years are a very special time in your child’s life. Teenagers are navigating the frontier lands between childhood and adulthood and there are a lot of new things to handle: school, friends, being allowed to stay out late, sex, parties and – not least – alcohol.

Teenager’s drinking habits

Not only is it illegal to buy alcohol for young people, but most adults think that alcohol is something teenagers should be avoiding. So where are teenagers getting their alcohol? How much do they drink? And what sort of problems do young people experience in connection to alcohol?

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