Parents Are Most Concerned About Their Teens Drinking Alcohol at Prom

Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) and National Presenting Sponsor Nationwide® released new survey data today, specific to parents’ attitudes and behaviors about teen drinking during special occasions, such as prom. Parents ranked prom as the time of year they are most concerned about their teens drinking alcohol, followed by spring break, graduation, summer break, homecoming, winter break and at school sporting events.

“I know firsthand the devastation of losing a child to the preventable consequences of teen drinking,” said Colleen Sheehey-Church, MADD National President, whose son Dustin was killed at age 18 while riding in the car with a teen driver who had been drinking and using drugs during summer break. “Before prom and throughout the year, MADD and Nationwide are committed to reducing teen deaths and injuries by urging parents to talk with their kids about the dangers and consequences of alcohol.”

The MADD/Nationwide Survey results also showed:

  • While the majority of parents (80%) said it’s not okay to drink under 21, that number increased to 90% or higher of parents saying it’s not okay to drink during school-based special occasions. MADD applauds that nearly all (96%) parents said it’s not okay for their children to drink at prom.
  • Over 60% of parents think that their teens would get alcohol from a close friend/peer over anyone else at a special occasion, such as prom.
  • Just over half of parents talk to their teens about risks of drinking alcohol before special events; however parent conversations with their kids are critical and the leading influence whether a teen chooses to drink.
  • When it comes to non-school based special occasions such as family gatherings and birthday parties, parents were more accepting of teen drinking: one out of three parents said yes or maybe to their kids drinking as long as it was under their supervision.

“Our studies consistently reveal that when parents permit their teens to drink under their supervision at home they drink more often and in heavier amounts outside the home. They are also 4 times more likely to be in the high-risk group for experiencing the most alcohol and drug related consequences,” emphasized Robert Turrisi, PhD, Penn State professor of Biobehavioral Health and Prevention Research Center, whose research is the basis of MADD’s Power of Parents program. “These findings hold up even when parents are excellent at other aspects of parenting, such as being good communicators and good role models. The easiest way for parents to reduce the risk of harm coming to their teens is to not allow them to drink alcohol. MADD’s Power of Parent materials are the best resource for parents to help their teens in this way.”

During the month of April,…

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