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Underage drinking and driving: The ways to talk to teens

Underage drinking can get a minor into a lot of trouble with the law. As a parent, you may be looking into ways to talk to your child about underage drinking, so you can try to prevent any underage arrests or drinking-related issues.

It's important to be clear and open with your teen about the risks of underage drinking and driving. Teens are more open to what you have to say if you're direct and up-front about the reasons behind the rules or issues you want to discuss with them. Respect what they have to say, and you will likely find respect in return. Highlight why you want to talk about drinking and driving and what the risks of doing so are, so your child understands the real potential consequences.

As a parent, it's good to have rules that your child has to follow, but if you do establish boundaries, make sure they are clear. Explain your expectations and go as far as to making a written agreement with your teen if it will drive the point home.

Another important thing to remember is that if there is alcohol in your home, it can be accessed by a teen or his or her friends. You might think it's a good idea to allow them to drink in your home when you can monitor them, but that can potentially be illegal and get you into trouble. It's also been shown that those who drink at home may drink more heavily outside the home, which is something to consider.

If your child does get arrested for drinking and driving, a strong defense can help. Make sure your child knows not to admit to anything until you've spoken to an attorney.

Source: Keys2Drive, "Underage Drinking," accessed Nov. 15, 2016

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