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MomTalk.com November 17, 2017:   The women's magazine for moms about children, family, health, home, fashion, careers, marriage & more


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Power to the Parents: Keep Teens Safe During Prom and Graduation

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Prom and graduation are two memory-making milestones in a teen's life. And these days, it's not just the students who get excited about the planning and the celebrating. Many parents are involved in every step of the way, too -- from picking out the right clothes to extending curfews for these special evenings. It's also a time when parents should ask themselves, "What can I do to make sure my teen stays safe and makes smart decisions?"

teencouplehandsprom.jpg(ARA) Prom and graduation are two memory-making milestones in a teen's life. And these days, it's not just the students who get excited about the planning and the celebrating. Many parents are involved in every step of the way, too -- from picking out the right clothes to extending curfews for these special evenings.

It's also a time when parents should ask themselves, "What can I do to make sure my teen stays safe and makes smart decisions?" Good questions, considering that for some teens, these events bring increased pressure to break the rules like drinking when underage.

But parents should not feel helpless. In fact, they should feel encouraged. When it comes to underage drinking, studies show that parents have a lot more power over the decisions their teens make than they may realize. According to the 2005 Roper Youth Report, a nationally representative poll, 74 percent of teens ages 13 to 17 say their parents are the number one influence on their decisions about whether they drink alcohol, and that finding has been consistent since this survey began more than a decade ago.

Lonnie Carton, PhD., director of teen and family resources for the Web-based "Warm2Kids" program and an advisory panel member of the "Family Talk About Drinking" program, offers parents advice on how to use that power of positive influence with their teens as they celebrate these rites of passage.

"It's not always easy to talk with teens, but it's true that parents have the power when it comes to helping their children make responsible decisions, like not drinking alcohol or giving in to negative peer pressure," Carton says. "Some of the most effective ways parents can exercise their influence include establishing open and honest lines of communication, setting firm rules and guidelines and teaching children critical decision-making skills."

Carton offers these additional tips for parents:

* Let your children know that you make rules to protect them, not to punish them. Remember that love means having to say "no" to some things.
* Remind them to be in control of themselves and to make their own decisions based on what they know in their hearts is right.
* Tell them to call you immediately if they get into a situation they know isn't safe -- no matter what time it is, no matter where they are. Assure them they will hear nothing but praise from you if they make that call.

Carton also reminds parents to think again if they believe it's OK to bend the rules and host a party with alcohol for teens and their friends during prom or graduation season.

"It's important that parents serve as positive role models and make a commitment not to provide alcohol to minors at parties," says Carton. "Just because your son or daughter might tell you that ‘every parent does it' or ‘this is a special occasion,' does not make it's right to break the law. Parents also should not delude themselves that hosting the party where minors are allowed to drink will somehow make it safer. There simply is no way to control all the variables when you allow something like this. On top of that, while each parent has the right to make the decision about what is appropriate for his or her child in their own home, no parent should ever presume to make that kind of decision for someone else's teen."

In fact, many states around the country are enacting social host laws that make it illegal for parents to host parties for teens with alcohol. Most parents share that perspective, with 96 percent agreeing that any parent who knowingly purchases or supplies alcohol to teens should be held accountable for their actions, according to a 2006 survey by Data Development Worldwide.

Carton suggests alternative activities to demonstrate to your teenager that you realize this is a special time for them. These could include an adult-chaperoned canoe float trip, spa visit, special sporting event or dinner with friends at a favorite restaurant.

Putting your positive parent power to work during prom and graduation season will help make for truly joyful and memorable occasions. For more tips about safe celebrating, visit www.preventdontprovide.com. For "Family Talk About Drinking" program materials visit www.familytalkonline.com or call (800) 359-TALK. That's (800) 359-8255. The materials are provided free-of-charge as a community service of Anheuser-Busch Cos.

Courtesy of ARAcontent



Categories: Teens, Children,


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