Alcohol is a risk that adolescents and sometimes even younger children may face. Peer pressure becomes increasingly prevalent as children move into the teen years, and underage drinking is a widespread problem among teens and university students.
One way you can help your children avoid the risks of underage drinking and the serious crime of underage driving while intoxicated, DUI, is to talk to them openly and honestly about the risks. Following are some tips that can help you initiate this important talk about alcohol with your children. The effort you make could save the life of your child or of other drivers and passengers on the road.
How to start the conversation
Conversations about difficult subjects are not always easy to initiate with your children. However, you must overcome your discomfort in order to inform and protect your children. One way you can start the conversation about the risks of underage drinking and DUI is to create an atmosphere in which your children feel they can openly talk about their experiences and feelings without judgment. Ask your children open-ended questions, such as how they feel about alcohol use or what they may already know about underage drinking and DUI, rather than simple yes-or-no questions. Showing respect for your child’s opinions will help your child to trust you and encourage open dialogue around this topic.
Tell your children about the risks
It can be particularly helpful to inform your children about the potential risks and consequences of underage drinking and DUI as a way to discourage them. Simply telling them not to do it is only part of the discussion. Providing specific information about why helps to complete the puzzle. You can share the legal consequences of an underage DUI. These may involve risks to your child’s future educational or career plans.
You can also talk to your children about the physiological consequences of underage drinking. Alcohol affects underage drinkers differently than it affects adults. Be clear with your children about the fact that alcohol is a drug, and as such, your child must view it with caution. You may also tell your children about the increased incidence of accidents and deaths as a result of drinking.
Use your instinct and your best judgment in determining how to best approach this delicate topic with your children. The investment you make now is crucial to help your children avoid the serious risks involved in underage drinking and DUI.