This is the time of year when young people will be going to proms. It is also the time of year that I fear watching the news or opening a newspaper. There seems to be a rash of kids who while either driving while impaired or riding in a car with someone who is impaired winds up dead or severely injured. Tragic loss of young lives really gets to us because it’s all so preventable.
So if you are the mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, big brother, big sister or the friend of one of these young revelers you HAVE to have “the talk” with them. You HAVE to state in clear, open and honest terms that IF they become impaired or find themselves with a driver who is impaired or at a party where their friends are impaired and they can’t get home safely that they can call YOU to pick them up.
This offer of help HAS to be unconditional, with no judgement or consequence. You will NOT yell at them about their choice of friends or that they might have experimented with alcohol or other stuff. Not only do they NOT get yelled at, you WILL thank them and praise them for calling you. YOU have to make it as easy as possible for THEM to make that call. They have to do this without hesitation or reservation.
It may be inconvenient, it may be a hassle to get up and get dressed to do this. It may be tempting to engage in a “tough love, tough talk” kind of attitude. As much trouble as a late night call like this might seem for you, imagine what a knock on the door from law enforcement is like. You only get one chance to save a kid’s life. PLEASE make it OK for a kid to get home safe.