January 29, 2007
It happens and sometimes it is a tragic choice. If you know that your child has a problem with alcohol and has been drinking and driving you need to take measures to put an end to this behavior.
What can you do if you discover your teen has been drinking and driving and is not willing to get help? You have grounded the teen, taken away the car, enforced a curfew and made sure there is no alcohol in the house. You are sure there is still a problem and don’t know what to do next.
Here are a few suggestions:
Stop all the excuses. Many times family members will make excuses to try and cover up or protect the drinker. It is hard to come to terms with the fact that your son or daughter has a drinking problem but it won’t do anyone any good to keep covering up the truth. Your child needs to start taking responsibility for his/her actions.
While there may not be a perfect time to talk to your teen there are times that are better than others. It won’t help to talk to your child while she is drunk.
The best time may not be when he is surrounded by friends. Talk to your son or daughter shortly after the alcohol-related incident. Try to stay calm and discuss the problem without getting really angry and raising your voice.
You should be very specific when talking about the problem. Let your son or daughter know exactly why you are concerned and use examples of the ways in which his/her drinking has caused problems. Talk about the seriousness of drinking and driving.
Tell your child what you will and won’t do concerning the situation. If both parents will be involved in the conversation make sure you are in agreement of what will happen if the teen does not agree to getting the help needed. Don’t use any threats that you can’t or won’t go through with.
Have information with you. Research all the options before you talk with your teen. Talk to your family doctor or an counselor who specializes in alcohol treatment. Know what help is available and which one you think would be the best.
Be prepared for a battle. Most teens will not want to admit that there is a problem.
They do not consider drinking and driving to be especially dangerous because they are pretty sure nothing will ever happen to them. They will not want to change their lives, make new friends and stop drinking. Be prepared to stand your ground.
Find support for your child and also for the rest of your family. You need to know that you are not alone and there are all kinds of resources for families. Drinking can cause broken relationships and these need to be mended. Counseling can help put families back together.
If you have been having recurring problems with your teen, alcohol, and drinking and driving, there are ways to provide the help he/she needs.