After the pomp and circumstance of a high school or college graduation ceremony, it’s natural to want to unwind and celebrate. Graduation is often a time for sharing memories with friends and family and looking to the future. It’s a time of exuberance that’s combined with retrospection and nostalgia. While graduation is an incredibly important marker in an individual’s life, it’s all too often marked by binge drinking and sadly, sometimes injury or even death due to alcohol-related overdoses and accidents.
Even teens and young adults who otherwise are responsible about drinking can fall into the trap of over-imbibing after a graduation ceremony. Un-chaperoned, unsupervised parties are notorious for high levels of alcohol consumption on graduation night, and this is when a car crash, an overdose, or any number of devastating situations can occur. Sadly, many young adults don’t understand the concept that excessive drinking is full of risks, even on an important day like graduation. This is exactly why parents need to be the voice of knowledge and reason.
The Risks of Drunk Driving
One of the most common dangers of excessive drinking is motor vehicle accidents. In fact, they result in more than 2,000 teen deaths each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of these accidents are linked to alcohol. The percentage of automobile fatalities that involve alcohol increases from 33 percent to 40 percent on graduation night. And, one-third of individuals under 21, who are in accidents, do so during graduation season. In other words, there are very real risks when it comes to graduation parties, drinking and getting behind the wheel.
Tips To Keep Your Kids Safe During Graduation
As you can see, it’s important to find strategies to keep your teens safe during graduation. Below are a few helpful tips.
Sober Graduation Get-Togethers
Because of the higher risks of drinking during graduation parties, many schools, parents’ groups, churches and community organizations are now holding sober graduation get-togethers. While these are fantastic options for avoiding the risks of graduation parties, they are not the only choice.
Open Up to Your Teen
Frank, honest parent-teen discussions about alcohol, partying and graduation can greatly reduce the risk of accident or overdose. Parents can bring up statistics, personal anecdotes and stories from the news to help present the dangers of alcohol. It doesn’t have to be a lecture. Rather, an open conversation can be far more effective.
Offer a Safe Ride Home
If teens choose to drink despite being warned, they should be given the choice to call home and get a safe ride home with no questions asked. Parents can also work together to be designated drivers for a group of friends. The key is making sure that no teen gets behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking.
While it may seem counterintuitive to offer a ride home if a teen drinks alcohol if you don’t condone drinking, it can potentially save a life. A teen who knows they don’t have to hide drinking is far more likely to be responsible.
Should You Offer Alcohol in Your Own Home?
Some parents justify serving alcohol to teens in their home by saying that it’s better than them drinking elsewhere. However, the risks are still substantial, and it is illegal in all 50 states. Not only is there a risk of binge drinking, teens can still leave a party after drinking, get behind the wheel and cause a devastating accident. In these cases, the adult who served the alcohol is also held responsible for the accident.
Do You Think Your Child Has an Alcohol Problem?
Many parents are concerned that their children are partying too much and entering the realm of addiction. This is a valid worry because alcoholism is a progressive disease. What may seem like normal teenage behavior at first may be the beginnings of a lifelong addiction if it isn’t treated. Don’t wait and see if your child improves or outgrows drinking. It rarely happens. More likely, their habit will continue and get worse. Call now to speak with an addiction specialist to learn more about treatment for teen alcohol abuse.