Many factors can influence a child to engage in risky behavior. As your child goes through the many stages of growth and development, have you ever considered when to tackle topics like alcohol use? While younger children may still not know the facts about alcohol, you can already build insights regarding alcohol use.

The legal drinking age in the United States is 21, but according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, approximately 80% of high school students have already tried alcohol. At this stage when peer pressure is great, it is only but necessary for parents to keep on guiding teens in making the right choices.

When talking to your child about alcohol, it may be good to start early. If you have already established open communication lines with your child, he may be more at ease to open up to you about sensitive topics. Always remember that in order for your conversations to be effective, you need to base it according to your child’s developmental level.

Although preschoolers are too young for conversations regarding the disadvantages of alcohol use, they can easily pick up after their parents’ habits. Set the right example by drinking responsibly, eating right, and exercising regularly. If you can show your kids healthy habits at an early age, they may also practice these healthy habits later in life.

Children from ages 4 to 7 may still be unable to understand certain things in the future, which may be due to a present action. If you happen to see an ad on television about alcohol, encourage your child to ask questions. Keep your answers simple, and try to relate your answers to how alcohol can affect the body. Children this age can be quite interested as to how certain parts of the body function. Use this to your advantage in pointing out how alcohol can harm the body.

Talking to your kids early can prepare then ahead for the time, when many factors can influence their perception towards alcohol use. As your child enters school, he may begin to learn the facts regarding alcohol. Reinforce the things that your child learned in school, and let your child know how alcohol can affect one’s judgment. Teach your child how to resist peer pressure, and make it a point to spend time with your child. It is important that you can make time for even casual conversations, so that your child knows that he can approach you for anything at all.

The teen years can be a crucial time for adolescents because they may be prone to developing unhealthy or risky behaviors. With a teen’s desire for more independence, it is really important that you keep on reinforcing the things you have already taught. However, you also need to respect your child’s privacy. Provide guidance but try not to overdo it. Always remember that you can show your love and concern, without having to threaten or nag your child.

Children need a lot of guidance during their growing up years. And although it may be difficult not to give in to peer pressure, an adolescent needs to learn how to say “NO”. While your teen may already be allowed some independence, he still needs guidance so that he can make the right choices.

Alcohol may be an easy escape from problems, which can occur due to life events like divorce or even self-esteem problems. Thus, it is very important to keep communication lines open. If your child learns to turn to you during difficult times, he may make better choices in life.