Underage Drinking and End of Year Celebrations Don’t Mix

Underage Drinking and End of Year Celebrations Don’t Mix
Underage Drinking and End of Year Celebrations Don’t Mix

Prom and graduation season is a special time for most teens, maybe even considered a ‘rite of passage.’ Parents want their teen to experience the excitement and fun of this time of year; however, they may also have concerns about their teen's safety.

These festivities are all too often destroyed by teens using alcohol and other drugs. Every year we hear the heart-wrenching stories of kids who are hurt or worse, killed, as a result of a prom or graduation after-party.

Tips for Parents:

  • Remember that parents are the number one influence on teens' drinking behavior.
  • Teens are often concerned about popularity, losing friends or being teased if they refuse an offer of alcohol or other drugs. Respect your teens' concerns and help them find a way to address them.
  • Practice effectively saying no when offered alcohol or other drugs. Practicing several different strategies in a safe environment increases the likelihood that a teen will say no if offered alcohol or other drugs.
  • Establish with your teen a plan if they were to find themselves in an unsafe situation. Encourage them to call you if help is needed. By using a secret code or text, your child can communicate with you they need help without alerting friends and being uncomfortable.
  • Most drinking on prom and graduation nights occurs at an "after party.” Maintain the usual curfew. While prom and graduation are special occasions, it is not an excuse to break the rules of the family or the community.
  • Do not rent a hotel room or otherwise host or allow an after-party.
  • Ensure that your teen has safe transportation to and from each special event.
  • Talk to your teen about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs throughout the year. Remind your teen about your expectations before they head off to prom or graduation.
  • Listen to your teens' feelings and thoughts about alcohol and other drug use, their hopes and fears, and what they think they would do (or have done in the past) if offered alcohol or other drugs.
  • Teens hear what we say, and they watch what we do. Role model by celebrating important events without alcohol.

Keep the conversation open with your teens, and remind them that this shouldn’t be the night that ruins a future, before it even begins. Remember, there are professional resources available if you or your teen needs them. For more information visit http://www.sbhservices.org/