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Help Your Teen Stay Safe During Graduation Celebrations and Summer Months


For teens, summer months bring high-school graduation parties with friends and extended curfews allowing for later nights. This time of year can also mean that teens have more free time and could face added pressure to drink alcohol. It's important for parents to exercise their positive parenting influence and help their teens make responsible decisions.

In fact, when it comes to underage drinking, parents have the biggest influence on their teens' decisions. According to the 2007 GfK Roper Youth Report (SM) , 69 percent of teens ages 13 to 17 say their parents -- not their peers -- are the No. 1 influence on their decisions about whether they drink alcohol, and that finding has remained consistent since this survey began more than a decade ago.

Lonnie Carton, Ph.D., 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 their positive influence with teens as they celebrate graduation and enjoy the more relaxed days ahead.

"It's important for parents to create an atmosphere of open communication with their teens, especially during the summer months when teens have more free time," Carton says. "Along with setting firm rules and guidelines, parents can teach teens critical decision-making skills to help them make responsible choices -- including not drinking when underage."

Dr. Carton advises parents to let teens know that rules are made to protect them, not punish them, and remind them to make their own decisions based on what they know is right. Teens should call immediately if they get into a situation they know isn't safe. 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, memorable occasion or not.

"Every parent wants their house to be the 'hang-out' place, but providing alcohol to minors is not only irresponsible, it's illegal. And while graduation celebrations and summer parties are special occasions in your teen's life, supplying or permitting alcohol at these events is never negotiable," adds Carton.

In fact, most parents are not permitting underage drinking or hosting these kinds of parties. A recent survey by Harris Interactive for Anheuser Busch found that 82 percent of parents with children under 21 years of age do not think it is OK for parents to provide alcohol or purchase alcohol for their teens or others' teens at parties or gatherings. In addition, the survey found most parents with teens ages 15 to 20 years would not allow their teens to attend a party where other teens are drinking, even if parents would be present.

Putting your positive parent power to work during this season will help teens enjoy a memorable and safe time. For more tips about safe celebrating, visit www.preventdontprovide.com and www.myspace.com/positiveparenting. For "Family Talk About Drinking" program materials visit www.familytalkonline.com or call (800) 359-TALK (800-359-8255). The materials are provided free-of-charge as a community service of Anheuser-Busch.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Categories: Teens, Children,

Tags: , ,
New FeatureRelated Articles: A Parent's Guide to Surviving the Teen Years, Helping Your Teen Decide What to do After High School,

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