With final exams behind them and especially after spending extended amounts of “family time” during the holidays, teens will be itching to go out with their friends. A little extra parental vigilance will go a long way – as well as saying “no” to situations about which parents don’t feel comfortable.
Establish Check-Ins. Establish clear rules for the evening in advance, including check-ins, especially if a party or sleepover is part of the plan. Use our BTI Parent List to contact any parents hosting gatherings and sleepovers. We also suggest knowing what your teen is doing during the day, especially with many parents working over Winter Break and for an adult (either a parent or friend’s parent) to have some face-to-face contact.
Police Checkpoints. Police will be out in full force throughout the Holiday Season and especially on NY’s Eve with sobriety checkpoints.
Designated Drivers Not Enough. Note that it isn’t enough to clearly set expectations that your teen will not drink, smoke or do drugs and drive or get in a car with anyone who has been doing so. It is wiser to prohibit your teen from getting in a car with anyone who has been drinking or getting high even if that person is not drinking but Teens under the influence can engage in risky behavior and cause distractions for drivers and interfering with their ability to drive safely.
Always Offer a “No Questions Asked” Ride. Make clear to your teen that you will always be available to give them or their friends a sober ride home with “no questions asked” if they call you. However, that doesn’t mean that questions can’t be asked at a later date.
Tips on Giving Parties. Chapters 2.2 and 2.3 of Where’s the Party contains specific guidance on best practices in hosting parties should you or your teen be so inclined.
Counter the messages out there. Messages abound in the media with images that alcohol is synonymous with good times. Our teens in Marin hear this loud and clear everywhere they go. Yes, it is wonderful to live in Marin County. But the other side of living in Marin, with our high rates, among both teens and adults, of binge drinking, alcohol and other drug use, can be on full display during the holiday season, along with the glittery lights and festive parties. Where else would one find a giant martini lass in lights as holiday decor, but in Marin?
Mind your own P’s and Q’s (Pints and Quarts)! After “P”. comes “Q” and it behooves us adults to watch our own consumption of alcohol, marijuana or other drugs, especially when around our children. If your kids are going out, remember you may have to be sober to pick them up. As Principal Sondheim stated, always remember that our kids are watching us and our holiday consumption. They are often eager to point out our hypocrisies. Consider the behavior you are modeling and the messages you are sending. Let them be healthy and positive ones.