As your teen starts driving, it is time to have a family meeting or two to discuss the dangers of drinking and driving and what your teen can do to be safe. Doing so is an excellent way of getting your family into a much safer and controlled situation.
Drinking and Driving Is Illegal and Fatal
Most teens know that drinking and driving is illegal and can be deadly, but few truly understand what this means. They don’t accept that they could be victims even though states like Connecticut have around 7,484 or more DUI arrests every year, and many of these situations could end with crashes and deaths.
Statistics may be a humbling thing to share with your teens, as they may force them to accept these dangers. But, just as importantly, you may want to share real stories of people you know who have been arrested or injured due to drinking and driving. While painful, it can reinforce these lessons.
Set Household Driving Rules and Expectations
- Limiting when they can drive
- Stating where they can and cannot go
- Having them call you when they need to picked up
Think About Other Drivers and Their Safety, Too
Teens need to understand that peer pressure is a real thing and learn not to give in to it in dangerous situations. So make sure to teach them lessons like:
- Friends shouldn’t affect a teen’s self-perception
- It’s okay to say no to friends
- Always listen to your head when making decisions
These important lessons will help your teen make better choices. They likely have a sense of right and wrong and will do what they can to feel comfortable here.
Come Up With an Escape Plan for Your Teen
- Know what to say when it’s time to go
- Understand it is okay to call if they need a ride
- Feel you won’t punish them for being honest
If you want your teen to trust you with this escape plan, you need to be willing to let them be young. As mentioned, don’t punish them for getting help, but thank them for trusting you.
Addiction Is Real
Talk to your teen about the dangers of addiction and discuss how easy it is for people to suffer from alcohol addiction. The early period during recovery is usually when relapse is at its highest. Providing an addict with more support and love can increas their chances of sobriety. However, you want to avoid this situation altogether.
Your child looks to you, unconsciously and consciously, and you need to work with them to avoid situations of drinking and driving. However, coming down hard on your teen is rarely wise. Understanding goes a long way.