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Parents set the mold for their children’s future behavior. During their formative years, children will look to their parents for examples of how to interact with the world, how to carry themselves. It’s often harped upon, but as a parent you bear a great deal of responsibility for your child’s character and actions.

A recent study released by University of Florida researchers backs that idea. Researchers found that children whose parents regularly drink alcohol in front of them are three times likelier to drive while under the influence before 21 than those children whose parents don’t drink in front of them – only 6% of those surveyed compared to 2%.

While peer influence is important to a teen’s decision to drink alcohol, parents clearly have a big role to play as well. Parents and educators must emphasize early on that drinking alcohol underage is illegal and harmful.

Prevention, of both underage drinking and drunk driving starts at an early age. Our Ask, Listen, Learn program teaches kids in middle school to say ‘YES’ to a healthy lifestyle and ‘NO’ to underage drinking. We also offer parents and teachers materials on how to talk about alcohol.

Be a positive force when it comes to alcohol and young people; be a good role model, talk with your kids and learn how to talk to your child about underage drinking.