Alcohol Awareness Tips for Safe Teen Functions

by: Mike Miller

Adolescence is one of the most frightening times for a parent. This is where peers have as much or more influence over our children’s behavior than any other time in their lives. It also is the time they feel indestructible and are exposed to a variety of life-changing and life-threatening situations.

While we would love to chaperone or at least be a fly on the wall at all times. But that is an impossibility. There are, however, steps that both parents and teens can take to lessen the chances of negative influences and impacts on our children.

From my years of teaching alcohol awareness classes and minor in possession classes, here are a few tips. I welcome all my readers to reply with tips of their own.

Tips For Parents

  • Know and discuss the school code of conduct before the event with your child – so few parents actually know the school code-and the same could be said for the child. Make sure not only that they know this code, but will abide by the rules.
  • Know who your child will be hanging out with – It would also be a good idea to speak with some of the other parents to make sure they are on the same page.
  • Discuss the dangers of drinking and driving.
  • Talk with your child about the dangers of club drugs, warning signs and who to notify for assistance.
  • Pre-plan and role-play answers that your child can use to get out of uncomfortable situations. (e.g., offered alcohol, getting a ride from an intoxicated driver, unwanted sexual advances, etc.)
  • Discuss guidelines and a curfew. Discuss the consequences of violating these rules. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.
  • Discuss travel plans and make sure they know even if they drink – they are not to drive nor get in the car with a drunken driver!
  • Know who is driving and who will be a passenger. Limit the number of passengers to increase safety and reduce driver distractions.
  • Talk to your teenager about the serious dangers of drinking alcohol such as alcohol overdose or alcohol poisoning.
  • If your child’s’ plans change, confirm the change with the parents of other children.
  • Remind your child that you are there for them, if they need a ride home or to an after-prom affair.

Tips for Teens

  • Alcohol is illegal for persons under the age of 21. Underage drinking is illegal and can result in arrest, injury or worse!
  • Don’t let friends drink and drive.
  • Plan ahead—make sure you have a safe plan for travel.
  • Discuss your plans with your friends; remind each other about responsible decision-making and confronting peer pressure. This may be very difficult, but stay strong to your conviction so you do not become a statistic!
  • Do not accept any drinks from someone you do not know. If you leave your drink, discard it and get a new one.
  • Do not leave your possessions unattended.
  • Learn the warning signs for alcohol/drug poisoning and intoxication; contact 911 for assistance and immediate treatment.
  • Take extra money or have a responsible person available for transportation for a safe ride home or in case an emergency arises.
  • Remember to charge your cell phone and have it with you.
  • Know where you are and where you are going; keep your parents and friends informed.
  • Trust your instincts, if you feel endangered or uncomfortable, leave immediately.
  • Intoxication by alcohol or drugs can lead to poor judgment and dangerous situations.
  • Remember to contact your parents if your plans change.
  • Practice and discuss answers you can use to get out of uncomfortable situations.
  • Do not allow anyone in your car that has alcohol, drugs or weapons. It is dangerous and everyone in the car is at risk of getting arrested. This seems like a no-brainer, but it happens all the time.

Remember that a minor in possession class can be very helpful to learn about the dangers of drinking. I recommend them highly for teens!