February 3, 2007
Are Your Kids Drinking And Driving?
Alcohol is not difficult for kids to get. Over 50% of eighth graders said it was fairly easy or very easy to obtain alcohol.
When kids start drinking at an early age it is even more likely they will drink and drive as they get older. What can a parent do to prevent problems with alcohol and drinking and driving?
If you have alcohol in your home keep track of it. It is easy to pay little attention to the number of beers in the fridge or the level of rum in the bottle.
When you do not monitor the amount of alcohol in your home it is easier for teens to drink without you being aware of what is happening.
Do not allow kids to have parties in your home that are not chaperoned. You may find that your kids disagree with this policy and tell you that all their friends have unsupervised parties.
Stand firm with your decision and do not change your mind. Make sure your child knows what the consequences are if they break this rule.
Get to know your children’s friends. Encourage your kids to invite their friends over while you are home. Also arrange to talk to and meet the parents of your children’s friends. Many parents form support groups with other parents.
This works well because parents learn what is going on and can make decisions together about parties, curfews and consequences. There really is strength in numbers.
Know where your kids are and what they are up to. Always know who they are with and when they plan to return home. Let your kids know you want to know who they are with and where they are because you care about them not because you do not trust them.
Discuss the rules about drinking and establish consequences. Do this before they are old enough to drive. Stick to the rules early and your kids will know that you are going to follow through on the consequences.
This may eliminate problems with drinking and driving as they get older.
When establishing the consequences you need to be sure that you can stick to them and that the consequences are not too harsh.
You want to set a reasonable punishment but not one that will shut down all lines of communication. Be consistent and your child will know that you are serious about the rules and the breaking of them.
One of the best things you can do is to set a good example for your kids. They are always watching the way you use alcohol. If they see you abusing alcohol they may be more likely to do the same.
When kids watch parents drive after drinking they will think it is not a problem. Don’t make jokes about drinking or tell your kids stories about drinking while you were in high school.
When you entertain in your home make sure you provide a safe way for people to get home if they drink too much. Your child may think that drinking is a way to loosen up after a bad day or avoid problems if they see this pattern in your drinking.
There are ways to help your child avoid alcohol abuse such as drinking and driving.