Most experts can’t harp enough on how parents need to be open and honest with their teenagers about the dangers of drugs and the effects of drinking and driving. Research shows parents who are open and honest with their teens about drugs and alcohol are giving them a tremendous advantage to the tune of a 60% less likelihood that they will use any illicit substances during their formative years.
MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) Surprising Research Results
According to MADD, when they analyzed FBI data concerning underage alcohol abuse, they found only 32% of traffic deaths for teens are alcohol-related. The other causes of death involving teens and alcohol have to do with homicides, suicides, alcohol poisoning, and a few other reasons. Another interesting statistic is that 1/4 of all children in the U.S. aged 12-20 drink alcohol at least once a month. I would say that’s completely outta’ control!
What does this mean for parents? They should definitely concern themselves with putting forth a concerted effort to teach their children about what’s out there so they don’t get caught by surprise and make bad decisions in the face of peer pressure. Just think about how many kids who have no clue, have been thrust into a situation where another youngster shoves an alcoholic drink in their face in front of all their friends and tells them to drink. This plays out every single day to thousands of young people across the globe and if they are not ready to react the smart way during that ‘moment of truth’ they are more likely to try alcohol or drugs.
When you talk to your child about the dangers of teenage drinking and driving in a caring and thoughtful manner without going overboard and being obsessive about it you will be able to reach them and make an impact in their lives. Don’t lie to them and tell them alcohol is terrible for them when they know darn well about how two glasses of wine a night actually benefits their health because they read about it on the Internet! Be honest and open but don’t emphasize the fact that you ‘really tied a few on’ and got hammered in your day because this type of message sends them an invitation to experiment and do what you did. At the same time, you should know their friends and peers are a bigger influence on them than you are, so it’s imperative that you place an emphasis on knowing whom your child is hanging out with.
A huge mistake parents make is to allow their children to drink alcohol at home because they would rather their kids do it in their presence than to hide it and drink with their friends. There is no reason for a parent to cave in and allow an underaged kid to drink alcohol (it’s illegal for a reason) at home because they continually pester and beg them to let them do it. Once parents do allow it, they should know they are helping to set the wheels in motion for a child to possibly become a problem drinker; kids who drink in their teens have much higher alcoholism rates than those who don’t, their academics suffer, and girls are far more likely to become pregnant in their teenage years.