|Ten Tips for Parents|
WRAP’s ten tips for parents to deter underage drinking and drunk driving this summer include:
Know the facts…Underage drinking can lead to substantial harm including traffic crashes, violent crime, property crime, unintentional injury and at-risk sex. In 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows that 32% of young drivers, 15 to 20 years old, were killed in alcohol-related crashes with the blood alcohol concentration of .01g/dL. Motor vehicle crashes still remain the leading cause of death of young people in the U.S. Learn about the risks of underage drinking and help your child avoid these consequences. Base your information on real facts not fears.
Talk with Your Teen…Studies time and time again have confirmed that parents can have a significant – if not most significant – impact as to whether their teens will engage in risky behaviors including the use of alcohol. Have open, caring, thoughtful, ongoing conversations on alcohol with your teen. Create clear family rules and expectations by setting a “no alcohol” rule and supporting such an environment with “zero-tolerance” consequences if such rules are broken. Teens who think their parents approve of their unlawful drinking are more likely to drink and get drunk than teens who believe their parents oppose their drinking according to the 2011 “The Importance of Family Dinners VII” study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse.
Provide Structure…The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse also found that teen children of “absentee parents” were four-times more likely to abuse substances than children in highly-structured homes.” Give your child the opportunity to share his or her day’s experiences with you at dinner time. By simply having dinner together with your kids, you can empower them to resist alcohol use. In addition, find a responsible adult, neighbor, relative or friend who can look in on your child or share the responsibility for creating activities for your children. The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign suggests you give your teens tasks (cooking dinner, doing chores, etc.) and make sure these tasks get done. In addition, most Washington-metro municipalities offer local teen-focused activities including teen centers and pool parties at nominal costs.
Host a Party…Host a teen party in your own home following clearly-stated guidelines of no drugs or alcohol including: not serving beverages in easily-tampered cups but in cans or bottles; asking another parent to help chaperone; when a guest leaves, not allowing them to return; making your presence known; and if you suspect that a guest has used alcohol or drugs, contacting their parents immediately. Most states do not allow you to provide alcohol to an underage person and the penalties for such can include losing your driver’s license or jail.
Foster Self Confidence…Instill self-confidence in your teen by talking with them about peer pressure. At some point, your teen will be offered alcohol. As the National Institutes of Health points out, “teens say they prefer quick ‘one-liners’ that allow them to dodge a drink without making a big scene.” In addition, encourage and praise your teen for the good things they do. Participate in their lives and know what they’re doing and with whom. Be approachable and easy to talk to.
Lay Down the Law…The District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia all have zero tolerance laws making it a crime to possess, transport or purchase alcohol if you are under 21.
Ensure Safety…Even if you have every confidence in the world that your teen won’t drink alcohol, if he or she is out with someone who has made the mistake of illegally drinking, don’t compound it by either making a second mistake of having him or her drive under the influence or ride with an impaired driver. Ensure trust in your child and assure them that you will be there to pick him or her up if their friends are drinking.
Beware of Your Civil Liability…In most cases, it’s unlawful for parents to allow their children’s friends to consume alcohol in their home. If these same “friends” are later involved in a crash, the providing parents may be responsible for injuries, property damages and wrongful death. These same parents may also face criminal charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Be a Role Model…Parents, themselves, should be good role models by making sure their behavior is appropriate. Use alcohol moderately, serve as a responsible host and never drink and drive.
Be a Safe Boater…Whether it’s the Bay or the Potomac, this summer, don’t overlook area waterways as another venue where advanced planning and safety is paramount as 50-percent of all boating deaths are alcohol-related according to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). USCG also says that alcohol cab be even more hazardous on the water than on land. The marine environment’s motion, vibration, engine noise, sun and wind can accelerate a drinker’s impairment.
If you think or know that your child is experimenting with alcohol, you should intervene before it gets worse. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, youth who drink alcohol before the age of fifteen, are four times more likely to develop an addiction later on in life. The Partnership at Drugfree.org gives tips on how to intervene such as creating tighter limits, seeking outside help, remaining calm when speaking to them and monitoring their behavior closely for changes.
|WRAP - | - 8300 Boone Boulevard, Suite 730, Vienna, VA 22182 - | - TEL. 703.893.0461 FAX 703.893.0465 - | - Email: email@example.com - | - Established in 1982|