Modeling responsible behavior for our teens

Parents can be great role models for their teenagers by performing actions that they want their children to follow, especially when it comes to drinking and driving. Jan Withers, president of MADD, explains how parents can do this.
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Modeling responsible behavior for our teens

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Many times parents think that their children aren't watching them, but, to be sure, our children are watching us; everything we do, from day one. So we want to be sure to be modeling responsible behavior at all times, so that we are teaching them how to behave as they grow up. For example, if you are going out for dinner or going out in the evening and you know alcohol will be involved in your evening, talk with your spouse, in front of your children; or perhaps, a friend, in front of your children, saying, "Who is going to be the designated, sober driver on the way home, so the rest of us have a drink or two." The other thing that you can do with your children in your home is to make sure there is a clear no-use message. Many parents think that if we offer our teens alcohol and teach them to drink "responsibly" in the home, that helps. In fact, studies after studies show that when parents do give their teens alcohol, when they are away from their home and away from their parents, they drink more often and in larger amounts.

Parents can be great role models for their teenagers by performing actions that they want their children to follow, especially when it comes to drinking and driving. Jan Withers, president of MADD, explains how parents can do this.

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Jan Withers

National President, MADD

Jan Withers joined MADD in 1992, after her 15-year-old daughter, Alisa Joy, was killed by an underage drinker who chose to drive after consuming numerous alcoholic beverages. Withers first volunteered by sharing her story and lobbying for tougher legislation. She wanted to make a difference by helping to stop this 100 percent preventable violent crime. Now as National President, Jan Withers speaks to lawmakers across the country about the importance of legislation requiring ignition interlocks (or “in-car breathalyzers”) for all drunk driving offenders, a key part of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. She also advocates for federal legislation that provides research funding for technology that will turn cars into the cure for drunk driving. In addition, Withers continues to raise awareness for MADD’s victim support services, even leading a monthly support group — while also expanding the reach of MADD’s underage drinking prevention programs.

Driving, Alcohol Use
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