Make Sure the Message is Driven Home

Make Sure the Message is Driven Home

ThinkstockPhotos-140448576As proms and graduation draw closer, parents and schools are looking ahead at ways to discourage drunk driving and encourage responsible behavior around alcohol.

Though most parents may wish that their teens don’t drink at all, it’s usually better to accept that a sizable number of teens will indulge when parents aren’t around, so that the teen will be more open to accepting advice and support.

Resources Available

One organization that provides resources, tips and ideas for parents faced with teen drinking is MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

They offer safe party tips, clues on how to spot a drunk driver on the road, and ideas on how to safely report a drunk driver. Some schools print out these tip sheets and post them at school dances and on hallway bulletin boards as a reminder to kids.

Technology as a Resource

As the following article looks at, since it’s hard to get a cell phone out of a teen’s hands, text messages to curb teen drinking are being experimented with.

The study, conducted in Philadelphia, sent text messages to teens at the start of the weekend asking how much alcohol they planned to consume.

Then they were asked at the end of the weekend how much they actually drank. If the original estimate was deemed dangerous, another SMS was sent, with a warning about the danger, and a request to lower the amount.

In the future, text messages like this might work to save a few lives.

Peer Pressure as a Deterrent

One reason that teens drink to excess is peer pressure. But if the tide can be turned and binge drinking could be seen as uncool, it’s possible that the same peer pressure could be used as a deterrent.

If one or two teens make a pact to stay sober, they can have a tremendous influence on their circle of friends.

This commitment and resolve is often seen as strength and other kids usually end up looking up to those who dare to say no, and to take better care of their bodies by not drinking.

Background Support

Many parents around the U.S. have banded together in their own communities to provide background support to keep their teens safe.

Activities like offering a free ride home with no questions asked, free food buffets for parties and proms, and a place to sleep for those who have imbibed too much.

Another practice that has been instituted is notification networks, where other parents in the community are notified whenever there is a teen party, so people will know where their son or daughter is.

Show of Force

Many college campuses are paying security overtime to oversee binge drinking.

They aren’t taking stock to see who they can arrest. Their main goal is to prevent any potential harm, to display a show of force, and to possible make students think twice about how much they’re willing to risk by drinking too much.

As with other social issues, binge drinking and drunk driving can be eradicated when everyone joins together and battles the problem on all fronts.

As long as strong teens, parents and schools stand together, society can look forward to fewer deaths this party season.

Photo credit: ThinkStock.com
About the Author: Kate Supino is an advocate for safe driving and responsible drinking.

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