Talking To Teens
The Dreaded Drunk Driving Discussion
Talking to your young ones and teens can sometimes be a challenge. Initiating conversations related to things like drunk driving, distracted driving, and even the typical talks about growing up through puberty can sometimes be obstacles that we drag out. It's never a topic anyone wants to discuss, but in order to parent our young ones into successful, positive thinking individuals, we have to have these types of conversations.
Drunk driving can be one of the hardest to talk about because it's a gray area where some teens don't seriously think about. Most of the time, the teenage mindset automatically thinks it's is invincible. It's easy for them to think that a drunk driving accident could never, and will never affect them. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. That's why it's extremely important that parents take the proper steps to talk about the dangers early on.
There are a few ways that parents can start the conversation and make strides to develop a meaningful lesson.
Give Them Examples
Depending on where your live might determine how many examples you can actually provide. For families in more urban areas, it's nearly impossible that a news story has not taken the headlines of your local network, covering a story on distracted driving. Share these stories with your teens, and every time an accident makes the headlines, make sure you are reinforcing this with your teen.
Another great way would be to share personal stories or eyewitness accounts you have had with drunk driving. Share an experience you may have had growing up, or explain any accidents you may have witnessed. Provide details and locations for the occurrences.
Give Them StatisticsThere are plenty of resources online that can help with this approach to the conversation. For example, Kraft Law has developed a heat map that outlines some of the locations throughout Texas where drunk and drugged driving accidents have to take place. Additionally, the guide provides the number of drugged driving accidents that have taken place throughout the state over the past several years, in comparison to drunk driving accidents. There are many other resources developed by local and state governments that help to outline some of the drunk driving statistics that may be experienced in your region as well.
Give Them SupportOne of the most overlooked areas that parents forget about when it comes to drunk driving is offering support. In the event that your teen has had a drink or two when they were not supposed to, offer them support. Don't allow your teen to feel as though they cannot call home if a mistake has been made. Offer them support and ensure they are aware that they can call and ask for a ride home if they need to. The same concept goes for a friend who may be in charge of driving your son or daughter home. Make sure they know that they can give you a ring before they get in the car with someone who has been consuming any alcoholic beverages.
Your Duties As A ParentAs a parent, you have a moral and emotional obligation to keep your teens safe in all aspects of life. Drunk driving is not an area that should be taken lightly, or looked over. Make sure you are setting up a plan and taking one of the approaches outlined above to show your teens how dangerous drunk driving can be. Most importantly, let them know that you are available if they need to talk to you, or need to make a phone call home if they are stuck in a dangerous situation.