For seniors in high school, mid-April typically starts the prom, graduation and summer party mode.
Seniors look forward to this time of celebration as they prepare to depart school and look forward to new adventures. Unfortunately, these happy occasions sometimes involve underage drinking, and result in tragedies.
Did you know: Alcohol-fueled motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death among 18 – 24 year olds.
Below are tips to keep your teens safe this Prom and Graduation season. Don’t take a chance. Make sure they are aware of what they should and shouldn't be doing.
You may say: Of course they know better. You are right. But as parents, we have a responsibility to remind them.
CONSTANTLY, and more importantly, REPEATEDLY in the weeks to come.
- Talk about drinking before Prom and Graduation. Send clear messages that you do not want your teen to drink alcohol.
- Find out who is driving. Make sure that everyone understands that under no circumstances should anyone get into a vehicle when the driver has been drinking alcohol – Not even a drop! Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teens.
- Limit the number of passengers to minimize distractions for the driver. Keep a list of the names and phone numbers of each teen rider, along with names and addresses of all the parents.
- Require them to ALWAYS wear their seatbelts. It’s the law. (70% of teens killed on prom weekends were not wearing seatbelts (NHTSA).
- Work with other parents to plan alcohol-free parties before and after Prom and Graduation.
- Prepare your teen for peer pressure. Brainstorm with your teen specifically about how he/she would handle a difficult situation such as being offered a ride by an intoxicated driver or being offered alcohol.
- Your teen may “roll their eyes” or say “Oh, Mom / Dad, I know, I know”. Be persistent. Remember, you can handle your teen’s dismissal of your concerns a lot better than the devastating consequences of an accident.
- Don’t allow your teen to go to parties in hotel rooms or homes/cabins that do not have chaperones. You should speak directly with any parents supervising after-parties your teen will attend, since some parents may allow underage drinking, and may not have the same set of morals and values that you do.
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 even more. Easy? No, but no one ever promised it would be.
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.
Perhaps there is no more time that this is more important than PROM and GRADUATION season.