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Starting a conversation with your kid about drinking

With little kids, there are little problems. Big kids – big problems, the saying goes. Parents of teenagers would have to agree. Driving and experimentation with alcohol can lead to a myriad of issues that put your child and others in danger.

Talking to your kids about alcohol can be one of the hardest conversations to start. But parents have the ability to equip their children with the knowledge to make good decisions. This could prevent accidents and arrests for underage drinking and driving, laying the groundwork for a bright future.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released research that shows when teenagers drink, they binge, which is especially concerning if they decide to get behind the wheel or in a car with a friend who has been drinking. Having a meaningful conversation about alcohol use is key, and could prevent your child from being involved in a devastating car crash.

Most parents understand the importance of doing so, but don’t know how to begin. Mothers Against Drunk Driving offers this advice for starting conversations with middle school or high school age kids:

  • Start the conversation by asking if it’s OK if you have a talk.
  • Choose a good time. When they are hungry or tired is not going to make for an effective conversation.
  • Ask questions. What do they think will happen if someone drinks and drives? How do they think alcohol affects a person?
  • Talk through how they would handle scenarios where they are around alcohol and others who are drinking.
  • Do not just have one conversation. The dialogue should be open and ongoing to be effective. It could save your son or daughter’s life.

It is not easy to talk with a teenager about a topic like drinking. But following these tips – and withholding judgment or emotional reactions – can make the conversation much more productive.

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