12/18/2013 02:34 pm ET Updated Feb 16, 2014

5 Ways to Deal With Teens and Alcohol Over the Holidays

By Barbara Greenberg, Ph.D. for
Yes, we all want to be merry around the holidays. We want to celebrate or forget the past year, hope for the best for the coming year and celebrate the holidays themselves.

The last thing we want to bring to the proverbial holiday table is a dish of teen troubles.

There is a lot of alcohol around during the holidays. The alcohol is often right near the soda or other drinks at get-togethers... or even near the milk in the fridge.

Yes, often, teens tell me that they get their alcohol at home. I am worried about teens having easier access to alcohol during the holidays and THAT leading to a number of problems including: car accidents, aggression, bad judgment when making decisions, impulsive and reckless behavior and getting injured and/or overdosing.

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So, what's a parent to do?

1. Monitor the amount of alcohol in your home.

2. Monitor your own level of alcohol intake. Your kids are watching you.

3. Let your kids know that if there is even a suggestion that they may be drinking, and especially drinking and driving, that you will take the car keys away.

4. Check backpacks as they leave your house and as they arrive home. Teens often use the trick of putting alcohol in their water bottles.

5. Be awake and around to see what kind of condition your kids are in when they arrive home at night. While you are at it, check to see what their breath smells like.

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Holidays may be a time for you and your kids to celebrate and be merry, but it is certainly not a time to lower your guard and let the alcohol flow. Watch yourself and your kids. There are all kinds of wonderful ways to have fun without drinking to excess.

Have a happy, safe holiday season!

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Barbara R. Greenberg, Ph.D is a regular contributor for and KnowMore.TV. She is currently a professional consultant on teen issues at Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, CT. She also maintains a private practice in Fairfield County, CT. Dr. Greenberg is the author of 10 e books on parenting teens: