Wednesday, October 28, 2009

MADD: The Power of Parents to Curb Underage Drinking

I’m the mother of two teenagers. One of them has had his driver’s license for several years, and the other will be getting his very soon. Of course, it’s great having two drivers in the family because that means fewer trips for me! But, on the other hand, it’s just another thing to worry about. Will my boys be safe drivers? Will they make good decisions when it comes to driving? We’ve certainly had plenty of discussions with our boys about not texting, talking on the phone and drinking while driving. As a mom, I’d like to think that I’ve taught my sons well, and they wouldn’t drink at their age, especially if they’re going to get behind the wheel. But I know that statistics say that all teens are at risk. Approximately 6,000 people will die this year as a result of underage drinking. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) wants parents to know that this statistic can be drastically reduced by talking to your kids about drinking and driving. In fact, they note, 74% of kids will turn to their parents for advice about drinking.

MADD has just launched a new initiative called The Power of Parents: It’s Your Influence ( This program provides parents with the information and tools they need to communicate with their kids about underage alcohol use. For example, they have a quiz to help you assess if your child is drinking, five steps for keeping your teen safe from underage drinking, and resources for helping you to cope with troubled teens or just learn more about them.

Following are seven tips for getting through to your teen:

1. Communicate before a problem starts. Have important discussions now, before there’s blaming, anger, or punishments. Agree on a time to start talking together about the dangers of alcohol.

2. Discuss rules and consequences. Explain how you expect your son or daughter to act, and why. Tell your teen plainly that you don’t want him or her drinking. Agree on consequences of broken rules.

3. Show you care. Gently touch your teen on the arm or back to show affection. Tell your teen you love them and want them to be healthy and safe. Explain that’s why you need to talk together about the dangers of underage drinking.

4. Pay attention. Even when life gets hectic, take time out to listen to your teen. Monitor where your teen is and what your teen is doing, constantly.

5. Share family activities. Have dinner together at least three times a week.

6. Give and get respect. When your teen talks to you, listen and reply respectfully. Insist that your teen treat you with respect, too.

7. Enforce consequences consistently. If your teen breaks the rules, stay calm and enforce the consequences.

You can learn more about MADD’s initiative, The Power of Parents, at You can also visit the following MADD sites:

MADD blog:
Safety Quiz:
Support 21 Survey:

Please talk to your teens now about underage drinking and safe driving. And keep the lines of communication open. It could save lives, including that of your child.

DISCLOSURE: I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of MADD. A donation was made to MADD in my name to thank me for taking the time to participate.

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to amend rule #5. Have dinner together EVERY day. If not dinner, try lunch or breakfast.


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