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You may think little of the harms of alcohol but a lot can spiral downwards from the first drink. With youths being exposed to alcohol as early as 15 to 16[1], being your teenager’s drinking “buddy” can help give responsible drinking habits an early start!

It may not have crossed your mind, but not drinking in front of teenagers when they are of legal age can be important first steps to a lifelong habit of responsible drinking.

Related: To Drink or Not to Drink?

Be a Proud Abstainer


Be a good role model for your teen by showing them how to behave around alcohol. You can start by trying not to drink in front of your children when they are young and impressionable. Children can be aware of parents’ consumption of alcohol from as young as three years old.

Even if you have that occasional drink with your buddies after work, stay within the drinking limit. You don’t want to reek of alcohol when your children hug you, or when your teen seeks for your advice!

You can also underlie the importance of self-control and sticking to the drinking limits one has established. This means refusing that extra can of beer or sip of wine that was offered to you at parties.

It’s never too early to start building the right ideas about staying alcohol-free or being a responsible drinker.

Related: How to Raise that Non-Alcoholic Glass and Survive

Keep the Pantry Light at Home


There’s no real need to stock up on alcohol at home for guests, and you can make it a non-event when entering places which sell wine and spirits, such as convenience stores, supermarkets, and duty-free areas at Changi airport. You get to save a substantial amount of money by skipping alcohol purchases too! Try other healthy options for party beverages when the festive seasons come around.

Related: How to Order Healthier Drinks

Stay Hip and Happening


Knowledge is power. You can start guiding a bright teenager by first knowing what is trending, and share stories of your experiences when you visited night spots when you were younger.

Instead of lecturing your teens which might just turn them off, engage them with open discussions instead on the ills of alcohol and visiting night spots. You can also set up fun ground rules even if alcohol is available, teens know what is safe to order.

Party places can get really creative – stay in the know so you have a good idea about the latest types of alcohol and what teens should not be ordering. These can come in innocent-sounding forms like craft beer, “Duck Fever”, “Tom Yum Martini” or “Airmail”.

Related: Life is Better When You’re Sober

Teach Them, Before They Learn to Drink Without You


The legal drinking age in Singapore is 18. Before your teen comes of age, take the time to explain the risks associated with excessive alcohol intake such as addiction, alcohol poisoning, potential liver damage as well as reduced awareness of surroundings and the loss of self-control.

You can share with your teens on the types of drinks that are high in alcohol content, e.g. a small amount of hard liquor such as whisky or vodka has more “kick” than beer and what to expect if they get drunk.

There are also risks when one drinks too much, which may endanger their health and personal safety. It’s a also appropriate to have a talk to debunk drinking myths such as how oily food does not help one stay sober. Take it a step further by sharing tips with your teen on how they can say no or avoid drinking at social gatherings where they may be offered alcoholic drinks.

Related: Smoking, Alcohol and Drugs - Why Teens Get Hooked On This Triple Threat

Women should drink no more than one standard drink a day and men should limit themselves to two. A standard alcoholic drink contains 10 grams of alcohol, and this is roughly:

  • 1 can (330 ml) of regular beer

  • Half glass* (100 ml) of wine

  • 1 nip (30 ml) of spirit

*wine glass about half the size of your fist

Guide your teenagers to give them a head start to responsible drinking. Together, family is the best team to staying dry!


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References

  1. Cheong, D. (2015, Mar 01). Social workers sound alert on new generation of young drinkers. The Straits Times.
    Retrieved from https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/social-workers-sound-alert-on-new-generation-of-young-drinkers