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Addressing Alcohol During the

Elementary Years

It may seem too early to talk about alcohol with your elementary aged children, but by the time you get to middle school it may be too late. 1 in 5 Jefferson County youth begin drinking by age 12! That’s 6th grade. There are many things you can do to start the conversation at an early age:


  • Set aside regular times when you can give your child your full attention. Talk about their likes and dislikes; let them know you love them; emphasize their self-worth. Building strong bonds of trust and affection will help them be resilient in the years to come!


  • Praise your child for taking good care of their bodies and avoiding things that might harm them.


  • Explain why adults may drink alcohol but children may not, even in small amounts-it’s harmful to children’s developing brains and bodies.


  • Talk to your child about the dangers and side effects of alcohol. Explain that alcohol is different than food and other drinks. Let your child know that people who drink too much alcohol get sick and throw up. Explain that too much alcohol can make some people stressed, angry and violent.


  • Watch TV with your children. When alcohol or drugs is brought up, ask them what they know and feel about alcohol.


  • Set clear rules. Make sure your child knows your expectations and the consequences.


  • Be a role model. If you drink alcohol, be mindful of the message you are sending to your children. Do not involve your children in adult behaviors (restrict them from touching, sipping, fetching, or mixing alcohol).


  • Get to know your child’s friends. Make sure their friends’ parents have similar values and convey the same messages you give your children.


For more information, download this helpful guide and start talking today!

Addressing Alcohol During the

Middle School Years

Even though your child may tell you otherwise, what you say does have an influence on their life. Research shows that parents have more influence over their child than friends, music, TV, the Internet and celebrities. Use these tips to help start the conversation:



Bring up the subject when you are both relaxed and can have a calm conversation.  Don’t be in a rush. Allow your child to speak without interruption.



Explain the facts about alcohol.  Convey that alcohol is a drug that depresses the entire body and it can change the way you make decisions.  Explain the difference between responsible drinking, binge drinking (five or more drinks in two hours), and alcohol dependence.


Don’t threaten or state ultimatums. Make sure your child understands your rules but avoid general threats, such as “I better not catch you drinking or else.”


Set your family rules concerning alcohol and substance use and communicate these to your child. Set a no use family policy and communicate the consequences if it were to be broken.


Encourage your child not to drink because: It is illegal and they may be arrested; It can make you sick; Drinking can lead to sexual assault and other dangerous situations and consequences; Drinking now might lead to becoming an alcoholic later- the younger the persons starts drinking, the greater the chance they will develop alcohol problems later in life.



Empower your child’s healthy decisions. Give them opportunities to make their own decisions (choosing the movie or dinner). Build their confidence and assure them they are strong enough to fight off peer pressure.


Express your respect and admiration of your child. Tell your son or daughter you are proud of them for being able to handle tough situations. Catch them doing the right thing and compliment them for it.


Take Action:

Get to know your child’s friends and their parents. Make sure your child knows that parents talk to each other, and you hear what’s going on in school.



Do your research and learn as much as you can about alcohol, drugs and other trends.


For more information, download this helpful guide and start talking today!

Addressing Alcohol During the

High School Years

As your children grow up, the chances that they will use alcohol increase tremendously. Nearly 51% of Jefferson County youth believe it is “okay” for them to drink alcohol.  As a result of these perceptions, 1 out of every 4 high school students reports drinking in the last 30 days.


The research shows that teens still care what their parents think. Express how concerned you are for their safety and the disappointment you would feel if they were to us alcohol or other drugs.


Capitalize On Your Influence:

  • Be specific and strict when it comes to alcohol.

  • Communicate the realistic dangers and harms.

  • Emphasize your concern for their safety.

  • Compliment their strengths and continue to stay involved!


Setting Clear Rules!

Know Where you Stand! Learn about the harmful effects of alcohol on youth and make sure all the adults in your house are also aware and on the same page.


Be clear. Be sure your child knows your expectations and desires for them to stay alcohol free until age 21.


Establish Family Rules and Expectations. Establish a “no alcohol use” rule for your kids. Work with your child to establish a fair contract. Explain the consequences for breaking these rules and follow through if a rule is broken.


For more information, download this helpful guide and start talking today!

The Law!

You Can be Held Responsible!

Did you know that you can be held personally responsible and sued for anything that happens as a result of your giving alcohol, or knowingly allowing minors to drink on your property. Many homeowners insurances do not cover damage or injury caused by underage drinking.

Missouri has strict laws against underage drinking. Providing alcohol to minors puts you and the child at risk! 


  • It is illegal to purchase alcohol for a minor. Purchasers could face jail time and fines up to $1,000.


  • It is illegal to host or knowingly allow underage drinking in your home. Your house is NOT a “safe place” for teens to drink. Providing alcohol to minors at your house puts the youth, your property and yourself at GREAT risk.


  • Social Host laws prohibit adults to sell or serve alcohol to those under the age of 21. Social Hosting is illegal in Missouri and adults could be charged up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine up to $500 PER MINOR drinking


  • It is illegal for anyone under 21 to possess or consume alcohol. Minors can be fined and subsequent violations are punishable by jail time.


  • It is illegal for anyone to drink and drive with a BAC over 0.08.


Underage Drinking Laws in Missouri

Minor in Possession

Any person under the age of twenty-one years, who purchases or attempts to purchase, or has in his or her possession, any intoxicating liquor  or is visibly intoxicated, or has a detectable blood alcohol content of more than two-hundredths of one percent or more by weight of alcohol in such person's blood is guilty of a misdemeanor.



Any property owner or legal occupant who allows a person under the age of 21 to drink  or possess alcohol, or fails to stop a person under 21 from drinking or possessing alcohol on the property is guilty of a class B misdemeanor. A second violation is a class A misdemeanor.  In addition to criminal charges, you can be sued if you provide alcohol to a   minor and they in turn hurt someone, hurt themselves, or damage property. 



Any licensed retailer who sells, or supplies alcohol to anyone under 21, or to any intoxicated person, and any person except his or her parent or guardian who buys for, sells to, or gives alcohol to anyone under 21 is guilty of a misdemeanor.

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