Congratulations, Class of 2019!
As the time for graduation celebrations near, it provides a great opportunity for families to have casual, yet informational, conversations with their teens about sharing these precious moments and memories with classmates, friends and family safely. It is never easy to bring up sensitive topics with teens, but parents have a lot to gain by doing so, and everything to lose if they remain silent.
- Connect with other parents - Speak directly with adults supervising after-parties your teen may attend. Be sure the adults will not allow underage drinking
- Talk about (not) drinking/doing drugs - Talk to your teen about dealing with peer pressure, the dangers of drinking and driving, using illegal substances and contacting you for a safe ride home in situations involving drugs and alcohol
- Offer options for rides - If a group is traveling together to a graduation party, talk to the other parents about your options, including one parent driving the group, public transportation, rideshare, hiring a limo, etc.
- Host a party - Plan your own, adult-supervised, drug/alcohol free after-party at your house, school, church or local community center
- Set an example - You can't always be with your teen, but you can model habits like wearing a seat belt, not using a cell phone while driving, following the speed limit, two hands on the wheel and making alternate arrangements as opposed to driving if you have been drinking
- Get some rest - Since many parties last until early morning, make sure you get plenty of sleep leading up to the big day, or ask your parents to pick you up so you and your friends don't have to drive tired. Fatal car crashes involving teens happen significantly more at night
- Set limits - Put a limit on the number of friends you ride with. The risk of fatal crashes increases with each passenger. Remind your passengers to put their phones away and turn the music down so you can focus on the road
- Don't Drink/Do Drugs and Drive - Drinking before the age of 21 is illegal, and alcohol and driving should never mix no matter your age. This goes for using drugs and other illegal substances as well
- Seatbelts are the perfect accessory - A little wrinkle in your dress, tux or graduation gown is hardly worth not buckling up for. Buckling your seatbelt can save your life and keep you from getting seriously injured. Plus, it's the law!
Congratulations, and best wishes, to the Class of 2019!