How To Start The Talk

Did You Know

64% of teens say that 5th grade or younger is when they initially became aware
of alcohol, but most parents think 6th to 8th grade is the best time to start The Alcohol Talk

(Source: Representative national poll conducted by Research Now)

How And When You Should Start The Alcohol Talk

The experts we consulted all agree: it is important to start The Alcohol Talk early. And teens agree: 64% say that 5th grade or younger is when they initially became aware of alcohol. The Alcohol Talk should begin no later than the tween years, between the ages 10 and 12, and evolve as the child grows. The Alcohol Talk isn’t one conversation; rather, it is a series of conversations conducted over time, ensuring children are provided all relevant information appropriate to their age.

Parents should begin developing a rapport with their child while they're still young, so open and honest conversations can continue as the child learns and grows. In order to establish this connection, it's crucial to listen to what's on a child's mind. Children may bring up things they've seen or heard, but can't fully comprehend. By actively listening to what your child is thinking, you will be better prepared to have an open and ongoing dialogue, naturally incorporating drinking into your regular conversations.

Life milestones, such as entering high school or getting a driver's license, present ongoing opportunities for parents to have The Alcohol Talk.


  • Establish and develop a strong rapport with your child in their early years so you can engage them in conversations as they mature.
  • Listen to what is on your child's mind.
  • Address drinking early and often:
    • It will often come up naturally in conversations about related topics.
    • You may wish to bring it up at certain milestones, such as entering high school, when peer pressure to drink may become more intense.
  • If you really want to discuss something important, encourage your child to set a time and place so they feel more comfortable with the discussion.
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