Approaching Your Teen About the Dangers of Drunk Driving

If you are the parent of a teenager, you know how important it is to make your child feel safe both physically and emotionally. In the teenage years, your child is going through a multitude of changes, and eventually, they may opt to get a driver’s license if you permit it. While getting a driver’s license is a milestone in a teenagers life, it is also one of the greatest responsibilities of their adolescence. There are many dangers that come with operating a motor vehicle, and drunk driving/driving under the influence is one of the most deadly. When it comes to starting a conversation about drunk driving with your teen, it’s very important that you approach the situation with empathy, and focus on the facts at hand in order to properly educate your teen.

This article will discuss some strategies for approaching your teenager about the dangers and consequences of drunk driving. 

Choose The Right Place and Time 

You need a calm and comfortable environment before opening up a conversation about drunk driving. This will help both you and your child to feel safe discussing whatever may come to mind. Without distractions and outside stressing factors, this will make your child more likely to ask questions and be receptive towards the information you present. Whatever this location turns out to be, ensure that both of you feel secure enough to engage in an open, judgment-free conversation. 

Be Matter of Fact 

The facts and figures surrounding drunk driving are devastating. However, it is important to be as straight-forward as possible in this scenario. Discuss how drunk driving impacts the lives of others, and how incredibly common it is. You may feel tempted to minimize the harsh realities of drunk driving, but you must be as educational as possible. 

Discuss the Potential Consequences 

There are a multitude of consequences for drunk driving and driving under the influence. Make sure to explain all of them to your teenager. The most obvious of these consequences is being charged with a DUI, however there are so many other devastating outcomes. Some consequences of driving under the influence include: killing another driver or pedestrian (manslaughter), seriously injuring yourself or your passengers, and damaging property. Of course this is a small list, so be sure to do ample research before presenting them to your teen . 

Address Peer Pressure 

Teenagers often feel an immense amount of peer pressure at this stage in life. Their friends may encourage or pressure them into underage drinking, doing drugs, or driving under the influence. Try to help your teen understand the importance of resisting peer pressure, and acknowledge you know it can be extremely difficult at this age. 

Encourage an Ongoing Dialogue 

After your conversation has pretty much wrapped up, make sure your teen knows they can always talk to you about this topic and other surrounding topics. By encouraging an ongoing dialogue, your teen will feel safe and secure coming to you with other questions and concerns as they continue growing up. 

Set a Positive Example

Lastly, you must do your part in setting a positive example for your teen. Practice responsible drinking habits, and never get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or consuming any sort of drug. By setting a positive example, your teen will understand what a responsible adult looks like, and hopefully mirror your behaviors. 

As the parent of a teenager, you are bound to have many uncomfortable, coming-of-age type of conversations. In these conversations, it is paramount that you foster an environment that is understanding, caring, and educational. By using some of the above strategies, you can speak with your teen about the dangers of drunk driving confidently and securely. 

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