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Milestones offer chance to talk to your teen about safe celebrations

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It’s prom night. Your daughter/son is excited.  A lot of planning and preparation has gone into getting ready for this night. Your daughter has shopped for the ‘perfect’ dress and accessories and has gotten her hair done. Your son has picked out a suit or tux, gotten flowers or a corsage, picked out a place to take his date for a nice dinner and has cleaned up his car/pickup or rented a limo…..

OR

It’s graduation day. It’s a day of open houses followed later by graduation parties. Your son or daughter has been waiting for this for years. They have applied to or been accepted into a college of their choice, received a scholarship or applied for a job. They have made plans for their future and are following their lifelong dream. They are making plans to move away from home and are eager to demonstrate and experience their independence.

Both of these events are milestones that should be FUN and MEMORABLE for your teen.

We know teens love a party especially during prom or graduation. Often alcohol is involved.  Historically and culturally alcohol has been an expected part of these parties. Peer acceptance can affect a teen’s decision making skills and that includes decisions to drink.

But, remember April through June can be some of the most dangerous times of the year for teens. Approximately 1/3 of alcohol related traffic fatalities involving teens occur between these months.

Many teens report getting alcohol from their parents or other adults. In the Southwest region of North Dakota, 63.4% of high school students report getting their alcohol from a parent, a friend’s parent or another adult 21 years of age or older. Some parents may even think that hosting a teen prom/graduation party and providing alcohol in their home will keep their teens safe and out of trouble. While your intentions are good, it is illegal, unsafe and unhealthy to provide alcohol to anyone under age 21 whether or not they are your teen children.  

However, parents can be a strong influence in whether or not their teen drinks. Take time to talk with your teens about making smart decisions on prom or graduation. It is an opportunity to teach them about the dangers of alcohol use and show them you support their decision to NOT drink alcohol. Teach them and show them that you can have FUN without drinking alcohol.  Encourage them to attend those school/community After Prom parties.

Prom and Graduation are a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should be FUN and MEMORABLE.  Support them in making good decisions to avoid problems that could last long AFTER these events are over.

Remind them to ENJOY these big nights but come home SAFE.

Visit Southwestern District Health Unit online for more support at swdhu.net.