The way we ask our kids about what they’ve been up to makes a difference
If you’re worried that your child is not being completely straight forward about what they’ve been up to, then The Belfast youth development study has shown that if we monitor our kids carefully at age 11 and upwards, they’re much less likely to drink frequently, but how we keep a check on them makes a real difference. If you say "what have you been doing?" there is no effect – they’re likely to tell you as little as possible, but if you take an approach such as “How was so and so,” this works better and if you use an engaging open question like “Oh, tell me more” it is the most effective approach.
One of the main reasons that kids give for drinking in public places or when they are hanging around with their mates is that they are bored and there is nothing else to do. If you’re working or you can’t think about what to do in the holidays or at weekends to keep your kids occupied as they get older, then take a look at www.alcoholeducationtrust.org/parent-area/ways-to-delay-teenage-drinking/. Encouraging them to get a holiday or weekend job can really help. For those under 16 baby sitting, dog walking and helping mates with odd jobs can be an option and help them earn some cash too! There are some wonderful volunteering opportunities, also sports, youth and holiday clubs are a great help. Check at your library, sports centre, via school or Citizens Advice Bureau to see what’s on locally.