The Power of Parents, It’s Your Influence by MADD

On October 27th Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Nationwide Insurance launched a new program called “The Power of Parents, It’s Your Influence by MADD™.” Parents can go to to find a variety of resources and communication tools that can help stop teen alcohol use, the No. 1 youth drug problem in America.

The website includes everything from conversation tools, an “ask the expert” section, help identifying warning signs, suggestions for answering tough questions such as, “Should I drink in front of my teen?” or “How do I address my own underage alcohol experiences?”, as well as tips on creating a safer environment at home and in your communities.

MADD is also working with Dr. Robert Turrisi of Pennsylvania State University to provide a handbook to parents about how to have conversations about alcohol. Parents as a Resource: Talking with Adolescents About Alcohol is based on a program for parents of college students. The handbook has been shown to reduce drinking by 30% or more among college students! Dr. Turrisi has adapted it for use among parents of high school students.

A GfK Roper Youth Report showed 74% of kids (age 8-17) said their parents are the leading influence on their decisions about drinking. Data also shows that a zero tolerance message from parents to teens is the most effective in deterring underage drinking and it also supports the lifesaving 21 drinking age law, which is in all 50 states.

7 Tips for Getting Through To Your Teen

1) Communicate before a problem starts

  • Have important discussions now, before there’s blaming, anger, or punishments.
  • Agree on a time to start talking together about alcohol’s dangers.

2) Discuss rules and consequences

  • Explain how you expect your son or daughter to act, and why.
  • Tell your teen plainly that you don’t want him or her drinking.
  • Agree on consequences of broken rules.

3) Show you care

  • Gently touch your teen on the arm or back to show affection.
  • Tell your teen, “You love them and want them to be healthy and safe. Explain that’s why you need to talk together about the dangers of underage drinking.”

4) Pay attention

  • Even when life gets hectic, take time out to listen to your teen.
  • Monitor where your teen is and what your teen is doing, constantly.

5) Share family activities

  • Have dinner together at least three times a week.

6) Give and get respect

  • When your teen talks to you, listen and reply respectfully.
  • Insist that your teen treat you with respect, too.

7) Enforce consequences consistently

  • If your teen breaks the rules, stay calm and enforce the consequences.

I was happy to see that we already incorporate many of these tips! I believe they are so important in growing a true relationship with your teen. I know like most moms, life gets hectic, sometimes I just don’t realize how unconnected I can become from my kids. When I find myself rushing around without really noticing the little things going on in their lives, I stop and remind myself to take a moment to remember that they need my full and focused attention! Especially with my 14 year old son! I’ve found that even though he wants to be cool, and acts like he doesn’t need my help, he really thrives when I give it to him unasked for. Yes, I go with him into his room every night to “tuck” him in and send him off to sleep with a kiss on the forehead – don’t mess the hair!!- and an I love you. Sometimes we have short talks or just goof around for a few minutes. I am building trust and gaining his confidence by just being there for him when he needs me. I’m making myself available to any thoughts going through his brain.

Our Family does have dinner together every night! We also do the “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly” during dinner, that is we go around and each tell one thing about the day that was good, something we accomplished or just a funny thing that happened to us. Then something we didn’t like or something that was a challenge. Last we tell about the Ugly, it really could be anything, a lot of the gross stuff falls into this category! Kids are kids after all. I truly believe this small thing is making a difference in their lives! We have their friends join in when they visit and they seem to enjoy this time as well. There have been some interesting conversations at our dinner table! Try it and see what happens!


Use these links for more information and helpful resources.

MADD Blog:
What parents need to know about college drinking.

What else can you do to help?

Become a MADD Facebook fan to keep up with the latest news.
Use the Safety Quiz to see how to help your child avoid using alcohol.
Sign the Support 21 Survey to show your support for 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age law.

* I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of MADD. A donation was made to MADD in my name to thank me for taking the time to participate.

About the Author

Henrietta Newman is a self-loving empty-nester into smudging, nature, yoga, fitness, healthy living, hunting, camping, hiking, tech, video games, gadgets, recipes, reviews and more.
With a love for the outdoors and visiting local attractions in and around NW PA and Lake Erie, you never know what you'll find in my nest! Subscribe to A Hen's Nest so you don't miss the fun!



  1. 1
    UPrinting Review says

    "Communicate before a problem starts"

    I think that this is really very important. I'm blessed that I have parents I can talk to. I'm not a perfect child, but I think I have my fair share of being a good one. I'm so thankful for my parents and the way they brought us up.

  2. 2

    Great post Henrietta. A branch of MADD was set up in Ireland years ago when I was there, one of the women in a writer's group I was in was a founder member. She lost her daughter in an accident caused by a drunk driver!

I ♥ your comments