5 Ways to Deal With Teens and Alcohol Over the Holidays

Yes, we all want to be merry around the holidays. We want to celebrate or forget the past year, hope for the best for the coming year and celebrate the holidays themselves. The last thing we want to bring to the proverbial holiday table is a dish of teen troubles. There is a lot of alcohol around during the holidays. The alcohol is often right near the soda or other drinks at get-togethers... or even near the milk in the fridge.

Yes, often, teens tell me that they get their alcohol at home. I am worried about teens having easier access to alcohol during the holidays and THAT leading to a number of problems including: car accidents, aggression, and bad judgment when making decisions, impulsive and reckless behavior and getting injured and/or overdosing.

So, what's a parent to do?

  1. Monitor the amount of alcohol in your home.
  2. Monitor your own level of alcohol intake. Your kids are watching you.
  3. Let your kids know that if there is even a suggestion that they may be drinking, and especially drinking and driving, that you will take the car keys away.
  4. Check backpacks as they leave your house and as they arrive home. Teens often use the trick of putting alcohol in their water bottles.
  5. Be awake and around to see what kind of condition your kids are in when they arrive home at night. While you are at it, check to see what their breath smells like.

Holidays may be a time for you and your kids to celebrate and be merry, but it is certainly not a time to lower your guard and let the alcohol flow. Watch yourself and your kids. There are all kinds of wonderful ways to have fun without drinking to excess.

Have a happy, safe holiday season!

By Barbara Greenberg, Ph.D.

August Message

A Message for teenage drivers, and their Parents:

Driving is an exciting time for the new driver; but, a nervous time for parents. As parents, we do all we can to teach our children how to make the correct decisions, and the difference between right and wrong. As parents, we do all we can to keep our children safe and protect them from any harm we can avoid. Unfortunately, once our children get behind the wheel of a car, our reach to protect and keep harm away is limited.

According to a 2013 study, texting while driving has been shown to be more than dangerous than drunken driving, and is the leading cause of death for teens, in the US.* More than 3000 teens die each year from crashes caused by texting while driving compared to 2700 teens killed in drunk driving accidents, and more than 50 percent of teens admitted to texting and driving.

Of 2000 teens surveyed, 71 percent said texting is unacceptable while driving; but, 45 percent admit doing it. More than 90 percent admitted to posting on social media sites while behind the wheel, and 75 percent admit to watching a video while behind the wheel.*

ATT is concerned and created an app ATT DriveMode App that silences incoming text message alerts once the vehicle is traveling at 15mph and turns off when the vehicle stops. Parents can receive a text message if the app is turned off so you know if your child has overridden the app. is an ATT sponsored site with more information on what’s being done to combat this trend of texting and driving.

As parents, let’s lead by example and put down our phones when driving; maybe, start the practice of putting them in the glove box so they are out of temptations sight. Let’s continue to talk to our children about right and wrong and keep our teenagers safe. When it comes right down to it, YOU are the adult and the parent, and as your kids get older, you have to assert your authority and lead by example, even more.  No one ever promised it would be easy.

We love our children and it is our responsibility to protect them, in spite of themselves.

Teens get to thinking they are bulletproof.  We need to CONSTANTLY remind them that they are not.

Fairfield Municipal Alliance Committee