Tips for talking to youth

It’s important to talk to children about alcohol at an early age. Talking to your kids about alcohol will help them make informed and safer choices about alcohol use in the future. While this can sometimes be difficult, remember that this should be an ongoing conversation as they grow older and move through different stages in life.

Here are some tips when talking to youth about alcohol:

  • Pick a calm time to talk, when you are not angry or upset about something they did. If they have been drinking, delay the talk until they are no longer feeling the effects of alcohol.
  • Learn about how alcohol affects children and youth. Because their bodies and minds are still developing, they are more at risk than adults. Learn more here.
  • Demonstrate Inuuqatigiitsiarniq – the Inuit societal value of respecting others, relationships and caring for people – by letting them know that their feelings will be respected.
  • Listen and encourage them to speak honestly about what is going on in their lives, and what their experience has been with alcohol. They have their own stories that should be heard.
  • Try not to scare them with exaggerated stories about the dangers of alcohol. Provide the facts as simply as possible, including ways to reduce the immediate and long-term harms.
  • Try not to be judgemental. If your teens have been drinking, try not to make them feel bad or ashamed. Let them know you care about them no matter what, but you want to understand why they are drinking and help them to stay safe if they are.

Remember it’s OK not to have all the answers. If you don’t know something, let them know you will find out and get back to them. It’s more important just to be having the conversation.