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Power of Parents

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Virginia ABC is proud to bring you Power of Parents in partnership with Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Parents are influential in their teen’s decisions of whether or not to begin drinking, when to begin drinking and how much to drink. Research has shown that teens are looking towards their parents for approval and final decision making. A 2005 study reported that about 80% of teens feel that parents should have a say in whether they drink alcohol.

So, what can parents do?

  • Set family policies about adolescent drinking in the home and be consistent in setting expectations and enforcing rules.
  • If you choose to drink, always model responsible alcohol consumption.
  • Talk early and often, in developmentally appropriate ways, with teens about your concerns and theirs regarding alcohol.
  • Work with other parents to monitor where kids are gathering and what they are doing, being involved in the lives of adolescents is key to keeping them safe.
  • Work in and with the community to promote dialogue about underage drinking and the creation and implementation of action steps to address it.
  • Be aware of your State’s laws about providing alcohol to your own teens.
  • Never provide alcohol to someone else’s child.

The Power of Parents handbooks and training will improve how you and your teen relate to each other and can help you guide your middle and high schooler in positive decision making. The Power of Parents handbooks and trainings are adapted from Dr. Robert Turrisi’s (Pennsylvania State University) research with the goal of empowering parents to have effective conversations with their middle and high schoolers about drinking. Dr. Turrisi’s handbook has been shown to reduce underage drinking among college freshman by up to 30 percent when their parents read and used the handbook while their teen was in middle school or high school.

MADD Power of Parents handbooks


Virginia ABC and MADD provide parents and parent groups with free handbooks to help parents talk with their teens about alcohol. To place an order of the following handbooks, please use this order form.
Use the following links to download PDFs: 

Talking with your Middle Schooler About Alcohol 

English Version (PDF) | Spanish Version (PDF)

Talking with your High Schooler About Alcohol

English Version (PDF) | Spanish Version (PDF)

Power of Parents online training

Training: Talking With Your Teens about Alcohol

We offer online and in-person training to help parents talk to teens about alcohol.

Training is offered online for individuals and in-person or online for groups.

Get started with the Virginia ABC Community Health & Engagement online training registration process today.

To request an in-person training, please complete this request form.

Additional Resources

While the Power of Parents Handbooks and Trainings are comprehensive, here are great additional resources to help you kickstart the conversation with teens on the dangers of drinking alcohol and using other drugs. Use them to home in on key facts and reminders about why these conversations are so important!

  • Talking to Kids About Alcohol and Other Drugs: 5 Conversation Goals (English)  
  • Why You Should Talk With Your Child About Alcohol and Other Drugs (English)  
  • Answering Your Child’s Tough Questions (English
  • Impaired Driving: Talk With Your Kids (English
  • Why Your Child Might Start Drinking Alcohol (English) (Spanish
  • How To Tell If Your Child Is Drinking Alcohol (English) (Spanish)  
  • What You Can Do to Prevent Your Child From Drinking Alcohol (English) (Spanish
  • The Consequences of Underage Drinking (English) (Spanish
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Community Health & Engagement

(804) 977-7440
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