Gaining their license is an exciting time for teens, but it also happens to be one of the most worrisome experience for parents. While you want to trust your teen, the reality is that they’re prone to making unwise decisions.
While the dangers of texting and driving have become common knowledge, the temptation to drive under the influence is just as strong as ever. If you’re worried about your teen drinking before getting behind the wheel, then here are a few steps you can take to help prevent this them from ending up in a DUI court case.
Set Clearly Defined Rules
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your teen knows your rules. Sure, they should know that it’s illegal to drink and that you would be upset, but that isn’t always enough to stop them. You have to make your expectations and the consequences clear, which reinforces both to your child.
You should also place an emphasis on the legal trouble they can get themselves into. Let them know they could lose their license, pay hefty fines, or be denied acceptance into some colleges. You don’t have to hound them, but having at least one conversation about the dangers of drinking and driving is highly beneficial.
Handling Peer Pressure
Even the most behaved teen can succumb to peer pressure. In most cases, it’s simply because they aren’t prepared for every possible scenario. While they might know what to say when turning down a drink, for instance, they might not know how to handle turning down a ride from a friend who has been drinking.
Pitch a few scenarios to your teen, allowing them to create their own rebuttals to peer pressure. You should also let them know that they can call you guilt-free for a ride. Many teens choose to let their drunk friends drive them out of fear for what their parents might say or do, which is a fast track to a car accident.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
You can’t expect your teen to abstain from alcohol if you and your friends aren’t setting a good example. That doesn’t mean you can’t drink. It just means you should practice responsible alcohol use in your home. The same goes for any friends you might have over.
You shouldn’t let on that alcohol can help with problems, either. Phrases like, “It’s been a tough day. I need a drink,” can make your child think that getting drunk is some sort of solution to their issues. Making jokes about drinking is also ill advised for the same reason.
Know Their Friends
Knowing who your teen hangs out with is an excellent way to better understand any unforeseen situations. You should get to know their parents, as well. The more you know who your child sees and what kind of environment they’re in, the better.
While this isn’t always possible, just do your best. It can help you understand situations they might get into, especially when they didn’t expect their friends to be drinking. If you do notice some red flags, then don’t feel guilty about limiting the amount of time they can spend with certain friends.