DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – North Texas teens are about to celebrate some exciting events, including prom and graduation. But along with those celebrations, there is sometimes pressure to drink. Mothers Against Drunk Driving recently launched a campaign to educate parents on how to talk with their chidlren about alcohol.
Dallas mother Elaine Ramsey said that it is a subject she has already discussed with her two boys, 17-year-old Blake Beitter and 14-year-old Mason Beitter. “I’m really close with them,” she said. “I ask them, what are your friends doing? What are you doing when you go and hang out at their house? I think it’s important to set a foundation of how dangerous it is and how it can change their lives forever.”
Her sons said that they listen.
“She mainly influences me in my life, next to my friends,” said Mason.
“They tell you all the stuff that’s bad about it and you have a less chance of doing it later,” said Blake.
In fact, MADD said that parents have more power and influence over their teens than they may realize. “MADD has found that two out of three teenagers say their parents are their number one influence on whether they drink underage or not,” said MADD youth program specialist Kelly Sourbeer.
MADD’s new campaign, The Power of Parents, is encouraging parents to have open, honest and frequent discussions with their children about underage drinking. MADD has provided an online pamphlet with tips and techniques on how to communicate effectively with teens. “We want them to communicate clearly their household rules, their expectations, and set consequences for breaking those rules,” Sourbeer said.
According to MADD, teens who start drinking before the age of 15 are 12 times more likely to be unintentionally injured while under the influence. They are seven times more likely to be in a car crash after drinking, and 10 times more likely to be in a fight after drinking.
Elaine hopes the lessons that her children are learning now stay with them. “I hope they continue to believe that they don’t need alcohol in their lives,” she said.