To the editor:
This is the season of proms and graduations-and lots of parties. It is an exciting time with preparations being made for that special evening and for the future. Celebrations are happening not only in May and June but also throughout the summer as teens say goodbye to their friends as they head off to college, to work or to the military.
Some parents view alcohol as an expected part of all of these celebrations despite the fact that the teens are underage. We all know the dangers of drinking and driving, but there are other risks for teens who drink as well. Alcohol lessens inhibitions. Drinking can lead to an alcohol overdose as well as to dangerous risk-taking behavior, unprotected sex and even violence.
Communicate openly with your teen about alcohol. Share your concerns and listen while your teen shares his/hers.
Host parties without alcohol. Come to an agreement about the rules before you begin the party including the starting and ending time for the party and the size of the guest list. Circulate regularly during the party checking all rooms and the yard.
Be a role model for your teen; what you do counts far more than what you say. Teach your child that not drinking because of peer pressure is a sign of maturity and self-respect.
This is an exciting time of the year. We can all work together to make sure there are many ways for the teens in our community to have fun and stay safe.
Susan L. Jenkins
Executive Director, BRiDGES