Underage drinking is pervasive in colleges across the United States, and it doesn't help parents to bury their head in the sand, and pretend that the problem does not exist. For any parent to believe that their child is completely immune from the dangers that emerge when an inexperienced or novice driver is given access to alcohol, is foolish.

As a responsible parent, you must initiate conversations about the dangers of alcohol use with your child. Those discussions must begin not when your child has been involved in an alcohol-related accident, or has been arrested for DUI, but must begin when your child enters high school, or at the very least, when he leaves home for college.

Some teenagers may be at a higher risk of alcohol abuse, underage DUI and other destructive behaviors involving alcohol. For instance, children who have a family history of parental alcohol abuse, a history of child abuse, behavior problems, mental health problems, discipline problems in school, or have close friends also use alcohol or abuse drugs, are much more likely to drink alcohol.

Talk to your child about the dangers of drinking alcohol, and the risks and complications that arise from alcohol use. Those risks can include criminal acts committed under the influence of alcohol, sexual assault, rape, arrests for DUI, or causing a DUI accident. All of these are serious criminal offenses, and can have a life-changing impact on a teen.

Do not exaggerate, but share facts and statistics. Discuss all the reasons why your child should avoid drinking, and also discuss peer pressure. Discuss with your child how he can handle pressure by friends to drink alcohol. Share your experiences as a teenager with access to alcohol.