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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Drunk Driving: Not as fun as “Just Drinking”

Alcohol and cars don’t mix. Nothing good ever comes out of drinking and then driving. However, adults and teens alike still find reasons to do it. I wouldn’t say it’s fun, because I’ve been on that road once. It was, for me, a matter of necessity. I happen to have had a couple of drinks with a friend. I had to come home and didn’t have time to sober up. Luckily I was alert enough to get home in one piece.

However, hundreds of teens are not as lucky as I am. The number of deaths attributed to drunk driving has alarmingly increased over the past years. We may not be able to monitor our kids all the time, but we can talk and listen to them. During the recent 2008 Lifesavers Conference, participants tackled this issue and they came up with a number of tips for every concerned parent. It’s not foolproof, but it’s worth a shot.
  • Lecturing doesn’t work. Teens have heard all the sermons before.
  • Keep the messages positive. Point out how mutual respect works in everyone’s self-interest.
  • Teach your kids to listen by listening to what they have to say.
  • Set a good example. If you don’t buckle up, why would they? If they see you drinking and driving, they’ll think it’s OK.
  • Look at your own drinking habits. What do they say about you?
  • Talk and listen positively and persistently. Don’t throw in the towel.
  • Read between the lines. Some things are hard to say directly.
  • Try to understand the teen’s world.
  • Praise your kids for doing little things, the sort of things you might think are taken for granted.
  • Lighten up. Let there be humor, whenever possible.
  • If you’re looking for a solution to a behavior issue, ask the teens what they think should be done.
  • Use logic and love.
  • Talk about results as the consequence of decisions rather than actions. Good decisions get good results.
  • Give teens the power to make decisions. That way, teens can feel they’re taking control of their own lives, acting responsibly because they want to.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no or set boundaries.
It’ll be years before I have that kind of talk with my son, but surely when the time comes I’ll never put off following all those pieces of advice.

Source: Consumer Reports; Lifesavers