As your teens travel through the murky marshes of adolescence, they will inevitably be faced with a beer bottle or mixed drink. The best way to prevail over peer pressure is to make sure your kids know that if they want certain privileges they must act responsibly. Under no circumstances should a teen drive drunk or engage in underage drinking. Ever. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about it, though.
According to Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), 52 percent of teens say their parents are either “very” or “extremely” influential when it comes to their driving behaviors. SADD also found that teens whose parents talk to them about drinking are 12 percent less likely to drink “regularly” than teens who do not talk to their parents about drinking. Further, the data suggests teens drink and drive less - by 8 percent - if they have a conversation with their parents about underage drinking and its consequences.
Make sure your teen knows that if he or she ever feels unable to drive, no matter what the situation, to always call you instead of getting behind the wheel or in another car.
Set a curfew and stick to it.
Set up a texting ritual. Make sure your kids understand that they don’t have to call you in front of their friends. A quick text message will let you know that they have arrived to their destination safely or are about to head home. Remind your teen that this text should never be sent while your teen is behind the wheel.
If you notice your teen acting weird when they get home, wait until the morning to bring it up. Approach your teen when you have both calmed down and are able to rationally talk about his or her night. Let your teen know that you knew that he or she was around alcohol, and while you’re disappointed, you’re more worried about the behavior than mad (even if you’re the opposite). This level of understanding will make your teen feel safe to open up to you, and will allow you to have a deeper discussion about the consequences of drinking and driving.
Take away car privileges if problems persist. If your teen breaks curfew or forgets to text you, take the keys away. Illustrate what it would be like if they had been pulled over by a police officer and their license had been suspended.