Parent Comebacks for Tough Questions From Teens

By Donna Wiesenhahn

If you have a teen, the dreaded moment will likely happen—when they ask, “Did you drink alcohol when you were underage?”

Now what?????

There is a reason behind these questions.

Your teen may be aware of others using alcohol and be seeking some answers.

As a parent, it’s good to start with a question: “Why are you asking now?”

A teen’s answer can provide insight into her world and her friends, and help you know what needs to be discussed.

A caution: Too often questions come in the heat of an argument concerning attending a party or going out with friends.

Expecting teens to “hear” our answers when defenses are up might be overly ambitious.

Wait until things calm down.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to address the issue – Now is when you must Parent!

Did you drink?

Be as truthful as possible.  If you say “yes,” tell your teens that you wish you hadn’t and explain why.

You might also add, “Sure, I turned out okay, but one out of five kids isn’t as lucky.”

Then you might second-guess the statistic and ask them to help you look it up to see if you’re right.

Learning the facts together can have a profound impact on kids.

They’ll be more likely to believe you’re not just making things up to scare them.

Teen: “Everybody will be there but me!”

What a perfect time to talk to other parents.

You’ll learn quickly who is setting limits – and I bet you’re not the only one.

Try saying to your teen, “Perhaps no one else’s parents have these rules, and maybe they are wiser than me – but I have to do what I think is right and I have no intention of changing my mind.”

And mean it!!

Important: You’re not alone! There are other parents who think like you and many resources to help you navigate these tough questions.

Set the bar high enough to give young people a goal to attain, not so low as to limit their chances for developing sound decision-making skills.

Hey, it will be a piece of cake.

For more info, visit or call Bluegrass Prevention Center (859) 225-3296.