When Parents Talk Firmly About Alcohol, Teens Listen

When kids become teens, most parents feel like they’ve been “tuned out.” But a new online survey by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) reveals that’s not the case, at least when it comes to conversations about alcohol.

The survey found that teens that receive a message from their parents that underage drinking is completely “unacceptable” are more than 80% less likely to drink than teens who receive other messages.

An article in USA Today said, “In the survey, 8% of teens who said their parents thought it was completely unacceptable for “someone your age” to drink were active drinkers; that compares with 47% of teens who said their parents thought it was either somewhat unacceptable, somewhat acceptable or completely acceptable, MADD says.”

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. It’s also prom season, with graduation fast approaching. Many parents mistakenly believe that alcohol consumption at prom or graduation is a rite of passage. “Allowing a teen to feel that it’s ok to drink during this time period is a recipe for disaster,” according to Greeley Chief of Police Jerry Garner. “Prom and graduation season is when we see a spike in alcohol-related accidents and arrests. During a time that should be about celebrating a future, many teens are injured, killed or face charges for drinking while under the influence. It can have a long-lasting negative impact on a teen’s life, and their families.”

The fact that April is Alcohol Awareness Month gives parents a great opportunity to have a conversation with their teens about alcohol. Whether it’s the first conversation, or reinforcing expectations and consequences-it’s good to know that the conversation won’t fall on deaf ears.

Here’s to a safe prom and graduation season!

To read more about the MADD study, click here.