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We all need to say


Join the 2 out of 3 parents in WA already saying ‘no’ to giving alcohol to under 18s.


Alcohol can

the developing brain

While the brain is still developing, some areas are more sensitive to the effects of alcohol.

2 in 3

In WA, 2 out of 3 parents of 12 to 17 year olds have 


given their child alcohol.

Advice for


Learn more about why it’s important for young people under 18 to not drink alcohol and tips to help you say ‘no’. 


How does alcohol

the teenage brain?

The brain goes through important changes during puberty and continues to develop until around age 25, making it more sensitive to damage from alcohol.

Decision making, impulse control, personality

Alcohol slows down the brain and makes it harder to make good decisions, concentrate, and control impulses.

Memory, learning, emotional regulation

Young people are more likely to have memory blackouts, where they can’t remember what happened while they were drinking.

Movement, balance, coordination

This is why accidents and injuries are common when young people drink alcohol.

Exposure to alcohol while the brain is still developing can lead to long term emotional problems and difficulty with learning, planning and memory.

Risk of illness, accident and injury

No amount is safe for under 18s

The developing brain does not assess risks in the same way as adult brains do. Adding alcohol to the mix can further increase behaviours that can end in harm:

Research consistently shows that, despite what some parents think, giving your child alcohol at home or on special occasions under your supervision, is not a safe way to introduce them to alcohol.

  • Vomiting, alcohol poisoning, and blackouts.
  • Injury, including assaults, falls, and road accidents.
  • Unwanted or unsafe sex.
  • Treating others in a way they normally wouldn’t, like arguing or having a fight.
  • Poor mental health, self-harm and suicide.

Young people who get alcohol from their parents – even small amounts like sips and tastes – are more likely to

  • Start drinking at an early age.
  • Drink at levels considered risky for adults (binge drinking).
  • Get more alcohol from other sources like friends.
  • Experience harm from alcohol

Health experts recommend that children and people under 18 should not drink alcohol to reduce the risk of injury and other harms to health.


drinking and harm 

in adulthood

When young people start drinking at an early age, they are more likely to have problems with alcohol later in life, such as binge drinking and becoming dependent on alcohol.

The later teens delay their first alcoholic drink, the less likely they will drink regularly and experience issues with alcohol as an adult.

Even in adulthood, regularly drinking alcohol (even at low levels) causes damage to the body and can lead to serious diseases, including cancer and stroke.

Did you know?

More young people in WA are choosing not to drink alcohol.

Over the last 20 years, alcohol use among young people aged 12 to 17 years old has significantly decreased.

Source: Australian School Students Alcohol and Drug Survey, 2017

While fewer young people are drinking, of those who reported drinking in the last week, 1 out of 3 drank at levels considered

1 in 3


for adults.

Advice for


As a parent or caregiver, you influence your child’s attitudes and decisions around alcohol more than you might think. Your advice and support helps keep them safe, even if it’s not always welcomed.

Times have changed

Talk early and often

Talk to other parents

We now know more about the dangers of young people drinking. Now that we know better, let’s do better. No amount of alcohol is safe for under 18s.

It’s never too early (or too late) to start talking with your child about alcohol. Your best chance to influence their attitudes and decisions is to talk openly before it happens. 

You might be surprised to learn that fewer parents give alcohol to their kids than your child may have you believe.

Actions for parents

Know the facts

Talking about alcohol

Be specific about expectations

It’s important your child knows the risks associated with alcohol but at the same time, if you use scare tactics, your child may dismiss what you are saying.

Take everyday opportunities to start a conversation (not a lecture) like at the dinner table, when you're driving them places or watching TV together.

Make it clear that you don’t want your child to drink alcohol while they are under 18 and explain why.

Make time to listen

Be prepared

Help your child

This lets your child know you are interested and helps maintain a close relationship.

You don’t have to be an expert, but think about what you want to say, and be ready to answer some difficult questions.

Prepare for pressure to drink and how to respond. 

Know where your child is

Challenge the idea

Be a role model

What they are doing and who they are with. Get to know their friends, and friends’ parents, where possible.

That drinking is a normal part of growing up, and everyone starts drinking alcohol eventually. More young people are choosing to not drink than ever before!

Let your child see you refuse a drink and choose to have alcohol free days.

For more tips

On how to talk to your child about alcohol, including how to prepare for more tricky conversations, visit the Alcohol Think Again website.

08 9442 5050 or 1800 653 203 (Country)

Acknowledgement of Country

We wish to acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures, and to Elders both past and present.

A free 24-hour, state-wide, confidential telephone information and support service for parents and families concerned about alcohol and other drug use.

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