Tips for a safe prom and graduation

Prom and graduation season is fast approaching, and teens are anxious to celebrate. 

While these events can be fun rites of passage, without proper guidance they also can become opportunities for poor decision-making.

Some teens mark the occasion with chemical use. It’s important that parents help their teens learn to celebrate “safe and sober.”

When minors celebrate with chemicals, they lose their ability to make good decisions.  Research tells us that 50 percent of teens who use alcohol are drinking to get drunk. They can find themselves in a variety of bad situations, including driving under the influence, being taken advantage of, falling and overdosing.

Here are some helpful tips and alternatives to help everyone celebrate while staying safe and sober.

Teens need a plan. Have conversations with them early and often about what kind of sober activities and fun they would like to have with their friends.  Sober fun is harder to plan than chemically induced “fun.”  They may also need creative ideas and financial assistance to make their ideas work.  Help them plan.

Who, what, when, and where. Being informed, knowing what friends they’ll be with and who is supervising them, is not being “too nosey.”  If your teen resists providing these details, that’s a sure sign that poor decision-making will be part of the celebrating.  Ask your teen for names and numbers.  A little detective work can go a long way.

Boundaries based on trust. It is good to give teens the appropriate amount of freedom for celebrations, based on trust that has been earned in the past.  If you have reason to doubt their decision-making abilities, set stricter limits.

Provide a safe environment. Parents can provide safe environments, free of chemicals and temptation, where youth can have a good time close to home. It is important to provide these opportunities so youth don’t have to look elsewhere for places to celebrate.

For assistance on how to have these conversations with your teens, Lakes Area Youth Service Bureau offers a free parent support meeting on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m.  For more information, contact Matt Howard at Lakes Area Youth Service Bureau at 651-464-3685 or matt.howard@ysblakesarea.org.

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