How should I set rules for my teen about drinking and driving?

Michele Borba
A study of over 1000 teens found that teens with "hands on" parents who establish clear behavior expectations, monitor their teens' comings and goings, and aren't afraid to say no are four times less likely to engage in risky behaviors like drinking and driving. Teens also say they will be more cautious about drinking and driving if they know you are serious and will follow through. Feel free to be strict without feeling guilty. So stress one rule: "Never ever drink and drive."
  • Have your teen sign a contract to never drink and drive. Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) provides a free online contract to download. It may help them pause just the second they need to not get behind that wheel.
  • Set strict consequences. Stress to your teen that drinking and driving -- either as the driver or passenger -- means an automatic loss of his or her driving license. Then make a pact: if your teen calls for a ride, he can keep that license.
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The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries

Today show's Michele Borba's cures for difficult childhood behaviors In this down-to-earth guide, parenting expert Michele Borba offers advice for dealing with children's difficult behavior and hot...
When it comes to drinking and driving, set high expectations for your teen. Here are some tips to help you establish clear rules about drinking and driving:
  • Let your teen know your expectations about drinking.
  • Let your teen know your rules about driving under the influence or hopping in the car with anyone who has been drinking.
  • Question your teen. Before he/she heads out the door, ask these five essential questions: 
  1. Where are you going? 
  2. What are you going to be doing? 
  3. Who are you going to be with?
  4. Who is driving? 
  5. When will you be home?
  • Give your teen an out. If your teen finds himself in a situation where others have been drinking, allow him a free ride if he’ll call you to come and pick him up. If your teen feels as though he will get in trouble, it may deter him from getting help when he really needs you.
  • If you suspect your teen has been drinking and driving, check her when she walks in the door:
  1. Look to see if her mouth is suspiciously filled with gum or mints.
  2. Look at her eyes to see if they are bloodshot and/or her pupils are dilated.
  3. Listen for slurred speech.
  4. Check to see if she is walking straight or swaying right and left.
Proactive parenting is best when it comes to drinking and driving. Set high expectations and educate your teen about the dangers associated with drinking and driving.

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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.