‘Tis the season for celebrations and recognition accomplishments!

With finals coming to an end, high school seniors everywhere are eagerly awaiting the moment they can throw their caps into the air and say hello to their future. As parents and students gear up for the big day, DrugFreeAz.org is reminding parents to talk to their teen about graduation celebrations and playing it safe by making good decisions including staying away from drugs and alcohol.

So how can parents make a difference?

There are a number of things a parent can do to help protect their teen during graduation season. For instance, DrugFreeAz.org offers webinars and other resources to help provide parents with the tools they need to keep their teen safe and substance free.

Aside from the webinars, talking tips and conversation starters are available as well.

Searching for the perfect moment

While there certainly is no bad time to talk to your teen about the dangers of drug and alcohol use, different daily activities may provide an opportune moment to bring up the topic.

After dinner, before bedtime, before school or on the drive to or from school and extracurricular activities are great times to initiate conversations.  Other teachable moments include:

  • Using current events as a conversation starter. The daily news is filled with stories that detail the consequences of alcohol and drug abuse.
  • Just by watching TV with your teen can help open up the door for further dialogue about drug and alcohol use and the dangers.

And if the opportune moment doesn’t come, use role play to help prepare your teen for potential drug-related situations they might encounter.

What about asking questions?

Before teens go anywhere on the big night, parents should be asking for all the details: who, what where, when and why. Be involved and know what’s going on. If plans change, make sure your teen knows to update you on the itinerary. Finally, make sure to set specific rules and guidelines to be adhered to on the big night. Things to consider:

  • No drugs or alcohol
  • Require your teen to check in routinely throughout the night
  • Set curfew
  • Talk to the parents of your teens friends
  • Require an (approved) parent chaperone to be at any celebratory events

The last hoorah

The big night is here. What else is there for a parent to do? Before you let your teen leave to enjoy their evening and what may be the last time they see all of their friends together, let your teen know you love them. Remind them how important they are to you and that you are available if any emergency situation comes up or if they need to be picked up. Finally, wait up until your teen gets home to make sure their night went smoothly.

At this age, teens are eager to venture out, spread their wings and be independent; what they don’t realize is they still need guidance and support to help ensure they stay on the right path to adulthood. This month, before the celebration begins, talk to your teen about making good decisions that will lead to a night of fun, laughter and memories they can cherish forever.

For more information, please visit www.DrugFreeAZ.org.