How to Prevent Your Teen Underage Drinking and Driving

As a parent of a teenager you worry about so many things. Even if you have complete and utter confidence that you have raised a mature and responsible young adult, the fact is that teens combat a ton of peer pressure to drink on a daily basis. One of scariest days of a parent’s life is the day the parent hands over the keys to the family car to his or her teen. A teen’s excitement over his or her new found freedom, combined with the awesome responsibility of driving and the teen’s lack of driving experience would make any parent nervous. But those facts, coupled with the statistic that 1 in 12 high school drink and drive can be down-right terrifying for a parent.

However, parents should take heart they still play an extremely influential role of in the lives of their teenage children. Even better news is that there are things every parent can do to reduce the likelihood that their teen chooses to drink and drive. The following are a few tips to help you reduce your teen’s risk:

  1. Have an ongoing conversation with your teen: The best thing any parent can do to prevent their teen from drinking and driving is to have a conversation with them about underage drinking. Make sure that you teen understands where you stand on this issue and that he or she understands the consequences from you and from the law for underage drinking. Keep the lines of communication open and revisit the topic frequently with your teen.
  2. Start early: Do not wait to have the conversation with your child until the day before you hand him or her the car keys. Start early. Experts recommend starting as early as middle school. If you wait until he or she enters high school you run the risk that the conversation may be too late and that your child has already had an encounter with underage drinking.
  3. Remember that you are a role model: Has your child seen you drink alcohol or drink and drive? Remember that from little on your child is watching and learning from not only the things you say, but the things you do. Make sure that you are being a proper role model for your child.
  4. Friends are key: Your teen may think he or she can resist the pressure to drink alcohol but could he or she resist if his or her best friend decides to drink? The biggest risk factor for a teen electing to drink underage is having a best friend who drinks. As a parent, it is important to get to know your child’s friends and the parents of these children as well.
  5. Develop a game plan: More than likely your teen is going to encounter a situation where other teens are drinking. It is not enough just to tell your teen not to drink. He or she needs to have a game plan in place when this type of situation presents itself. One suggestion is for your teen to have a safe word or phrase that he or she can say to you on the telephone or text to you, that alerts you that he or she is a bad situation. Maybe the plan can be, if your teen says the safe word, then you “demand” that he or she come home. Maybe the story is that he or she failed to do something like clean their bedroom, complete a chore, or take a sibling shopping). This way your teen has an “exit” and can “blame” the whole thing on you.

If you are a parent whose teenager has been charged DUI, he or she needs an experienced Kansas criminal defense attorney. The Whitman Law Offices have been defending both teenagers and adults in DUI and other alcohol related matters in Lawrence and Northeast Kansas for over 35 years. Seasoned attorney Charles E. Whitman, will take the time to carefully explain your son or daughter’s rights under the law and evaluate his or her legal options. To schedule a free and confidential consultation call the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460 or visit us online. Do not let your teenager’s mistake cost him or her their future, call us today.

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