5 REASONS THAT TEENS RESPECT When you speak with your son or daughter about avoiding alcohol, emphasize the following reasons that make many teens choose not to drink: Reason 1: Underage Drinking is Illegal Most teens know it is illegal to drink under the age of 21. Still, they may assume they won’t get caught or they are unfamiliar with Zero Tolerance laws, which prohibit driving after drinking any amount of alcohol. Remind your son or daughter that police do receive complaints about parties. When police arrive, they may arrest all who have been drinking underage. State clearly that you expect your teen to obey the law. Discuss the potential consequences for breaking the law, such as the teen could have his or her license revoked or face expensive legal fees. The teen, you, and your family could be publicly embarrassed, since these arrests are routinely reported in newspapers. If a court date is scheduled, you may have to take time off from work and could lose pay.
Teens rarely consider all the possible legal consequences. Discussing the implications of an arrest can help deter underage drinking. Reason 2: Drinking Can Make You Sick or Pass Out Alcohol irritates the lining of the digestive system. Drinking too much alcohol can make people vomit and feel bad for days (a condition known as a “hangover”). Other teens don’t want to be around someone who is sick or passes out from too much drinking. Remind your teen that alcohol sickness can happen suddenly and with little warning. Reason 3: Drinking Can Lead to Sexual Assault Teens who are drinking are more vulnerable to dangerous situations and often can’t escape or protect themselves from the threat of rape or assault. Research clearly shows that the younger a person starts drinking, the greater the chance they will develop alcohol problems later in life.
CAUTION: Terrifying your teen could backfire Be truthful with your teen about risks, but avoid overly harsh scare tactics. Too much scary information can make people “turn off” and not pay as much attention. Plus, if you paint a horrific picture of the consequences and your teen doesn’t see them happen immediately when someone they know drinks, they will assume you were wrong or exaggerating.
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