If you have a teen in your house, you probably know this time of year as prom (and maybe graduation) season. Both events come with all-night parties and lots of access to alcohol.
Parents of teens already have reason to be nervous when their kids get behind the wheel or ride in a car with a teen driver. Car crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths. About one-fifth of teen car crashes involve alcohol, and approximately one-third of those occur from April through June.
Even if your teen doesn’t drink, prom night comes with more temptation to try it than the average weekend night out. In one AAA survey, over 40 percent of teens between 16 and 19 said they anticipated drinking alcohol and/or taking drugs at or after prom. More than half of teens who drink on prom night report that they consume at least four drinks.
Couple this drinking with a still-developing brain in an inexperienced driver, and you can see why many parents spring for a limo, put an Uber app on their kids’ phones, volunteer to be a chauffeur or let them plan their own party. Talking to your kids is also important. Even if they roll their eyes when you bring up the subject, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) contends that teens whose parents have told them that drinking is unacceptable are 80 percent less likely to do so than kids whose parents haven’t set clear rules.
A more complicated topic is what your teen should do if he or she is in a situation with alcohol or has been drinking. Some parents and kids decide on a code emoji or word that teens can text for help without anyone else knowing. Teens should never be afraid to call their parents (or at least a trusted adult) for a safe ride home if they’ve been drinking or using drugs.
Maryland law enforcement officers are on the look-out this time of year for drunk drivers and parties where underage drinking is taking place. If your child is arrested, it may be tempting to let him or her go through the legal system alone to learn a lesson. However, an underage drinking and/or DUI arrest can have long-term consequences on a teen’s future. It’s imperative that parents take these charges seriously.
Source: Shatterproof, “How Parents Can Keep Their Teens Safe During Prom & Graduation Season,” accessed May 07, 2018