Speaking to your children about drinking

Drinking and driving has long been a problem in the U.S. Since the end of Probation, adults have a legal right to purchase and consume alcohol and unfortunately, many then attempt to drive a motor vehicle after that consumption.

What is even more unsettlingly is the incidence of underage drinking of alcohol in North Carolina and every other state. The seriousness of this is underscored by the fact that alcohol use is linked to one-third of all motor vehicle deaths involving teens in North Carolina. In 2012, an estimated 36 teens died in alcohol-related crashes, and another 1,400 were injured in motor vehicle accidents.

Parents are urged to speak with their children. Even if you believe your child would never drink and drive, the statistics suggest otherwise, and they still may be at risk, as one of their friends could be intoxicated when offering them a ride.

Shockingly, the average age when most teens first try alcohol is 14. Because teen brains are still developing, they are subject to greater impulsivity and a lack of self-control than adults. Many problems with substance abuse begin with teens, and if you can help them to avoid alcohol and drug abuse before age 21, they are unlikely to ever have any of these issues later in life.

Parents provide a great deal of the modeling behavior and influence over their teens. By demonstrating good behavior when it comes to alcohol use, parents can help their teens avoid binge drinking and other risky behaviors that follow.

Talk to your teens. Remind them of the dangers and risk of alcohol. Don't be a scold, but remind them how much you love them and care for them. As one parent states, losing a child to underage drinking is "a pain that never goes away."

Source: charlotteobserver.com, "As summer dawns, talk to your kids about drinking," Jim Gardner, June 8, 2015

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