|Prom is prime time for teens to drink: Speak to your teen about alcohol before the big night
Dazzling dresses and dashing tuxedos are sure to be the talk of the town this prom season. As high school students get ready for their big night out, the Denver Resource for Awareness and Prevention (Denver RAP) program urges parents to speak to their children about the risks of drinking alcohol.
There are some ways to approach the subject with your teen as you shop for dresses, pick out a corsage, help tie a bow-tie or take pictures.
1. Remember, teens value what you say.
Parents often feel like what they say goes in one ear and out the other. But when parents regularly talk with their kids about not using alcohol or other drugs, their kids are up to 50 percent less likely to use alcohol. Start talking about the risks of alcohol and drug-use on a regular basis.
2. Pick an everyday life example to bring up the subject.
Sometimes it is hardest just to get the conversation started, but great conversation-starters are all around us. A news story about addiction; a TV show, song, or movie that talks about alcohol and other drugs; or a real-life story of someone you know who has been harmed by alcohol and drug use can all serve as conversation starters.
3. Make your position on alcohol and drug use clear.
When discussing alcohol and drug use, clearly state what you expect from your son. For instance, you can say, “I know you may see other kids in your school drink, but let me be clear, I expect you to not drink. I don’t want to see you risk your future by getting in trouble or getting seriously hurt when you drink.” Tell your teen about what will happen if he breaks your rules. Be sure to follow through if he does break the rules with the consequence.
4. Find out the when, where and who.
It is important to know where your daughter will be on prom and afterwards. And, equally important to know who she will be hanging out with and what time she is expected home. These types of questions will show how much you care about her.
5. Suggest tips to avoid peer pressure.
You can teach your son to stay real to himself when he is being pressured to drink; REAL stands for Refuse, Educate, Avoid, Leave. Some easy ways for teens to avoid being pressured to drink is to say, “No thanks; it’s not my thing.” If a friend continues to pressure him, he can say, “No way. My mom told me not to drink. She’ll ground me for the rest of the year if I do.” Finally, if he still gets pressure to drink, he can avoid the situation by saying: “I love this song. Do you want to dance instead?” If all else fails, he can excuse himself and leave the situation by saying he needs to go the bathroom or going to another party.
For more tips about speaking to your teen about alcohol, download the Parent Toolkit – How to Speak to Your Child About Alcohol at www.denvergov.org/Drug_Strategies or visit Denver RAP on Facebook, facebook.com/DenverRap.