As a mother of 2 young in's, 1 tween and 1 teen, I've come to realize that motherhood brings a whole new set of challenges as our kids get older. Sure, those sleepless nights when my children were infants were tough but I'm starting to experience a whole new breed of insomnia! However, what keeps me up at night most frequently is a worry that I know many parents are facing--the dangers of underage drinking.
While I'm confident that I've raised great kids who will make smart decisions, I also know that the statistics are too shocking to ignore; teen alcohol use kills about 6,000 people a year, more than all other illegal drugs combined. Not only that, car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and more than one out of three of those are alcohol-related. And finally one that surprised me the most-one in five teens binge drinks, yet only one in 100 parents think their kids binge drinks.
I've always been the kind of parent who believes that open and honest communication is the best way to handle issues, and I'm so thrilled that there is an organization that feels the same way.Mothers Against Drunk Driving has programs and activities to prevent underage drinking, starting with the Power of Parents program sponsored by Nationwide Insurance. To help you get started, they have designated April 21st as PowerTalk 21® day. It's a day for parents, kids and communities can take positive steps to open communications using the Power of Parents program and work together to end underage drinking.
Since nearly three out of four kids say their parents are the leading influence on their decisions about drinking, MADD helps mothers like us put that influence to work by offering a research-based handbook for talking with teens about alcohol. I encourage you to download it here; I know I did!