Though most adults are able to enjoy some alcohol in moderation, unfortunately teen alcohol consumption often leads to unsafe behavior. And because the developing teen brain can’t process alcohol and marijuana in the same way the adult brain is able to, judgment can become quickly impaired.
New Year’s Eve can be a difficult night for parents to set guidelines for their teens. More than any other event, this night is associated with drinking. Teens put pressure on their parents to let them go to unsupervised parties and sleepovers. Parents go out with their own friends and may be less vigilant about supervision. But be smart – have an in-depth conversation with your teens about New Year’s Eve plans and check on the details. Be clear about communicating your expectations, and connect with the parents of your teen’s friends about their expectations of responsible behavior.
Consider the following guidelines:
- If your teens are going to a party, find out where, exactly what the time frame is and who will be supervising. Double check with the responsible adult – actually speak to the parent.
- Talk with your teen about how they will safely get home. This is an ideal time to talk about drunk driving, reinforcing the message never to ride in a car driven by someone who has been drinking.
- Model responsible alcohol consumption.
- If you are hosting a party, do not leave unsupervised alcohol around where it is accessible to underage guests. Even if you trust your child, your child’s friends may be tempted by what’s available in your home.
- Talk about the risks of providing alcohol to other teens, especially if you have returning college students who might let teen siblings “join the party.”
- Don’t relax your family rules during the holidays -- it will be hard to revert back to previous expectations.
- Talk to your child about the dangers of alcohol and marijuana on the developing brain, and set clear expectations and consequences regarding substance use at any time.
As an alternative, make New Year’s Eve a family night! You will be helping your child to change the association of New Year’s Eve from that of an alcohol-related event to a family fun night!
Wishing you a safe and healthy holiday season!
Holidays can be a hard time of year....
We encourage everyone to print this card and carry it.