December 6, 2021

Top 3 Ways to Prevent Cortland County Teens from Accessing Alcohol at Home

Reaching quickly into the basement fridge for the forgotten holiday party beer to make that “Cards Against Humanity” game just a little bit more interesting. Siphoning a shot or two from each liquor bottle to help a friend grieve the recent breakup of her and her first boyfriend. We are all aware of these familiar teen situations.

Based on local survey data, most Cortland County 7th-12th graders do not report accessing alcohol from home (with or without parent permission). However, home is still the number one place where teens in our community say that they have accessed alcohol in the past year.

Here are some tips that parents can use to limit alcohol access to teens in our community:

#1. Have Clear Family Rules

Kids and teens whose parents have communicated that alcohol use is not allowed are less likely to start drinking. Based on our 2019 youth survey, 85% of Cortland County teens report that their parents set clear rules alcohol use.

Setting fair consequences and enforcing them if your child does break rules is also an essential component of limiting alcohol access at home. Our survey data shows us that kids who reported major parental consequences when caught drinking in the past year were less likely to binge drink in the past month compared to kids who had no or minor parental consequences.

#2. Track Your Alcohol Inventory

Making it more difficult for teens to access alcohol in your home is an easy way to prevent them from drinking. If you keep alcohol in your home, having a reliable system to track what you have and/or a liquor cabinet or cupboard that locks could prevent teens from snatching those few forgotten beers.

Cortland County teens who report it is hard to access alcohol are less likely to report drinking in the past month. Limiting access starts at home!

#3. Monitor Teen Gatherings

When setting family rules, parents can emphasize that parties or gatherings are not allowed when they are not home. Creating an environment where your child and your child’s friends want to spend time in your home (while you are there) could prevent them from drinking in another person’s home.

Taking the time to form relationships with your friend’s parents allows you to communicate your family rules with them (and to see if your child will have similar alcohol related rules while attending gatherings at their house).


1. Make a Difference: Talk to your child about alcohol-Parents. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Sign Our Cortland County Parent Pledge to Stop Underage Drinking Today!

Calling all Cortland County parents of 7th -12th graders! Upstream Parent, a Cortland Area Communities That Care project, is spearheading an initiative to help reduce underage drinking and promote teen health and wellness in Cortland County, but we need your help!

According to our survey of over 2,000 Cortland County students, the number one place teens in Cortland County access alcohol is at home with or without parent permission. As parents, you can play a key role in reducing teen access to alcohol by taking our Cortland County Parent Pledge today. We want you to know that you are not alone in your decision to limit your teen’s (and their friend’s!) access to alcohol. While home may be the number one place teens in our community are accessing alcohol, the majority (90%) of 7th -12th graders DID NOT report accessing alcohol from home with their parent’s permission last year.