As graduation season kicks into high gear, high school students worldwide are closing one chapter and looking forward to new and exciting adventures.
As their last day in high school draws near, students anxiously await their graduation day when they can celebrate their accomplishment with family and friends. This is an exciting time for both graduates and their parents.
Unfortunately, graduation season also creates heightened temptation for drunk driving. As the big day approaches, parents’ drunk driving fears escalate and school’s activism against such activity increases and spreads worldwide.
Although teenagers continue to be the ultimate decision-makers in their own safety when they are away from home, it doesn’t keep parents from waiting up all night. If your high school senior is approaching their graduation night, take an active role in encouraging them to have fun while still being responsible.
Tips to Help Stop Your Teen from Drinking and Driving on Grad Night
Set clear rules against drinking- establish clear behavior expectations during the graduation season and monitor your teens' comings and goings. It is perfectly okay to be strict without feeling guilty
Don't make liquor available- the easiest place for teens to get alcohol is typically in their own home or at a friend's house. This doesn't mean you can't have liquor in the home period, but take steps to make it unavailable in your home. Securely store liquor in a locked cabinet that only you have the key to. Let older siblings know there will be stern consequences if they help supply liquor.
Form an alliance with other parents- Make it a point to know your teen's friends and their parents. Communicate with other parents that it is unacceptable for your teen to drink in their homes. Find out if there will be unsupervised parties in their home.
Create a Safety Plan for Post-Graduation Celebrations
As a parent, it is impossible to ultimately control the decisions our children make. All we can do is set clear boundaries and give solutions to help avoid the peer pressures of drinking. Work with your graduate to form a safety plan that you can both be comfortable with.
- Designate an older sibling to drop your graduate off and pick him up from a party
- See if other parents would like to pitch in for a limo to transport your teens to and from an event
- Set a reasonable curfew
- Don't let your graduate rent a hotel room after the event, where underage drinking is certainly expected to occur
- Remind them that regardless of the time, you are only one phone call or text away.
This time of year can be a great success if you talk to your teen and work together to create a grad night back-up plan. Let them know how important it is for them to have fun celebrating with their friends but that their safety is most important.