Influencing young people

It’s not just what you say that makes a big difference, it is also what you – and others do – that shapes a young person’s attitudes and behaviours.

The influence of others

Before your young person is faced with deciding to have their first alcoholic drink - or not – they will have formed attitudes and expectations about alcohol from parents, carers, family, friends, the media and the internet.

How much they are influenced by others is important when weighing up the risk of alcohol and drugs. Be aware of how susceptible your young person is to the influence of peers and the attitudes and behaviours of their friends.

Father and son supporting each other

What you can do

If you choose to drink, leading by example and role modelling lower risk drinking can have a powerful influence on your young person’s drinking behaviour.1

  • Avoid saying you ‘need’ or ‘deserve’ a drink.
  • Follow the Australian alcohol guidelines – no more than four standard drinks a day, and a total of no more than 10 standard drinks in a week to reduce long-term harm and alcohol-related injury. The same guidelines recommend people aged under 18 years should not drink alcohol at all.8
  • Show you don’t always need a drink to have fun or wind down.
  • Build some alcohol-free days into your week.
  • Find some healthy ways to manage stress like exercising, listening to music, streaming a show, or using other coping strategies like breathing techniques.
  • Keep track of how many standard drinks you’ve had, even when you’re not driving.
  • Demonstrate that you can refuse a drink.

You don’t need to tell your young person about your past experiences with alcohol and/or drugs (good or bad). However, if you decide to share your past, consider how much detail you want to give; whether your story will be beneficial; and, how you will respond to any questions.

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