How can I prevent my teen from drunk driving?

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Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine

Be a good “drinking” model: A recent study found that adolescents whose parents were authoritative (rank high in discipline, monitoring, support and warmth) were less likely to drink heavily than adolescents whose parents were authoritarian, indulgent or neglectful. If you’re not an example of responsible behavior don’t expect your kid to act responsibly. Your teen is watching. Be the example you want your teen to catch.

Start early and talk often: It makes no difference that your child does not have a driver’s license let alone a car. Now is the time to stress one emphatic rule: “NEVER ever drink and drive.” Talk to your kid about the dangers of drinking and driving. And then keep talking! Research shows that a close parental relationship with teens is a powerful way to reduce risky behaviors.

Don’t make liquor available: Teens admit getting alcohol is easy -- and the easiest place to get it is in their home.

Count those liquor bottles: Lock up your liquor supply. Don’t tell your teen where the key is! Watch your credit card: the hottest new place kids buy alcohol is on the Internet. And admonish an older sibling to not be the supplier.

Be strict: A study of over 1,000 teens found that teens with “hands on” parents who establish clear behavior expectations, monitor their comings and goings, and aren’t afraid to say no are four times less likely to engage in risky behaviors like drinking and driving.

Put it in writing: Have your teen sign a contract to never drink and drive. Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) www.saddonline.com provides a free online contract to download. It may help them pause just the second they need to not get behind that wheel.

    Michele Borba
    Psychology
    Review these skills with your teen. PLEASE! Teen drinking and driving is one parenting peril we cannot ignore. Be a good “drinking” model: A recent study found that adolescents whose parents were authoritative (rank high in discipline, monitoring, support and warmth) were less likely to drink heavily than adolescents whose parents were authoritarian, indulgent or neglectful. If you’re not an example of responsible behavior don’t expect your kid to act responsibly. Your teen is watching. Be the example you want your teen to catch. Start early and talk often: It makes no difference that your child does not have a driver’s license let alone a car. Now is the time to stress one emphatic rule: “NEVER ever drink and drive.” Talk to your kid about the dangers of drinking and driving. And then keep talking! Research shows that a close parental relationship with teens is a powerful way to reduce risky behaviors. Don’t make liquor available: Teens admit getting alcohol is easy -- and the easiest place to get it is in their home. Count those liquor bottles: Lock up your liquor supply. Don’t tell your teen where the key is! Watch your credit card: the hottest new place kids buy alcohol is on the Internet. And admonish an older sibling to not be the supplier. Be strict: A study of over 1,000 teens found that teens with “hands on” parents who establish clear behavior expectations, monitor their comings and goings, and aren’t afraid to say no are four times less likely to engage in risky behaviors like drinking and driving. Put it in writing: Have your teen sign a contract to never drink and drive. Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) www.saddonline.com provides a free online contract to download. It may help them pause just the second they need to not get behind that wheel.
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    Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.