The Party Checklist and Teen Promise
- Prevention & Early Intervention
- Counseling and Community Services
Peers, Parties and Parents. Adolescence is a time for trying new things. This experimentation can be both positive and negative. Teens express a desire for more independence and less parental control. At the same time they want to be liked and valued by their peers. Parents find themselves conflicted by their teens requests for more freedom and their own need to know that their teens are behaving responsibly. Many parents can't believe that their mostly responsible teenager would ever experiment with alcohol, tobacco or other drugs. Why would they?
Teens use alcohol and other drugs for many reasons, including wanting to feel grown up, to fit in and belong with their peers, to relax and feel good, to take risks and rebel, and to satisfy their curiosity. Young people who use alcohol and other drugs are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, experience failure in school, and be the victims or perpetrators of violence. It is difficult to determine which teens will experiment and stop and which will develop serious problems.
The role of parents
Parents possess a unique ability to help their children remain healthy and drug free. Adolescents are less likely to use alcohol and other drugs when they have caring adults who are involved in their lives and when they are involved with positive activities at school or in the community. Parents can help through early education about drugs, open communication, good role modeling, and early recognition if problems are developing
- Establish together time. Develop a weekly routine for doing something special with your child.
- Don’t be afraid to ask where your child is going, who they’ll be with, and what they’ll be doing. See the Party Checklist, developed by a Solon parent group, CCAT, for additional information you should know when your child goes out.
- Get to know your child’s friends and their parents.Youth are more likely to experiment with drugs if their friends do. Establishing relationships with your teen’s friends will place you in closer touch with your child’s daily life.
Learn to communicate
- Be absolutely clear that you don’t want your adolescent using drugs ever and leave no room for interpretation.
- Talk often about the risks and results of drug use.
- Be a better listener.
- Don’t react in a way that will hurt further discussions – avoid harsh, judgmental accusations and threats.
Have clear expectations
- Make clear rules and enforce them with consistency and consequences. Do not make empty threats or let your teen off the hook if rules have been broken.
- Set a curfew.
- Have your teen check in with you at regular times.
- If your child hosts a party, be in attendance. Invite other parents over so that you also have a good time. Be clear that you will not tolerate alcohol or drug use in your home.
- Call parents whose home is to be used for a party. Offer to bring food or beverages as a way to connect with other parents.
- Make it easy for your teen to leave a party where alcohol or drugs are being used. Discuss in advance how you will come to pick your child up the moment they feel uncomfortable. Later, be prepared to discuss what happened.
- Listen to your instincts. Don’t be afraid to intervene if your gut tells you that something is wrong.
Did you know?
While open communication between parents and teens is important, the timing of discussions is also crucial. The Teens Today study, conducted by SADD, learned that parents who make discussions about destructive decisions part of normal conversation, rather than just a lecture after an incident occurs, are more successful in preventing their teens from trying destructive behavior than those who only bring up the topic after an incident.
Looking for ways to have fun with your teenager?
Social scientists say that playing games with parents can reduce some of the stress that youngsters feel as they get older. Played in the right spirit – not highstakes or cutthroat – teens can really get into games. Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, Scrabble, and Clue are some teen favorites. Card games and pool are also big.
Parents and their teens can also plan outings that are geared to fun. Swimming, hiking, camping, roller-blading, golfing or fishing – activities you can do together where you are removed from your daily routine. Make high school sport or theater events more fun by organizing a potluck dinner before or after the event. You can meet your teen's friends and parents and feel connected to their school.
A Party Checklist
If we don't know, you can't go! Love Mom and Dad
What ............ is happening?
Why ............ what is the purpose
When ........... is this happening?
Where .......... will this event take place (address and phone number)
Who............ is going to be there?
Who ............ are the parents? Will the parents be home?
When .......... will you be home?
How........... will you get there?
How ........... will you get home?
Dear Mom and Dad,
I promise to call you for a ride if there is alcohol or any other illegal substance at this party, and/or if I am feeling pressured to do something against my will.
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