Parents: The season of vigilance is here

“My child would never do any thing like that!” Sure, of course not.

“Some thing” and “any thing” in this case are interchangeable: parents referencing underage drinking by their children. You would guess those words are often uttered. And have been each and every prior spring. Here’s a not-so news flash to parents: If your child is intent on drinking he or she is not going to give you a heads-up.

The prom season is upon use. Closely followed by graduation. Modified by COVID adjustments but upon us. And, yes, after last spring’s virus outbreak wreaked havoc on all things normal — such as proms, commencements and grad parties — it is great to have some semblance of normalcy back. Young people got cheated out of a lot last year.

But now high school youth will be celebrating. As they should within the bounds of common sense and safety. Prom and graduation celebrations are rites of passage. Area high schoolers are busy preparing and primping for their prom celebrations with the hopes of a night of friends and fun to long remember.

Such times are memory makers for sure. They’ll don formal attire and head off to area auditoriums. Many hours have been spent — dollars, too — preparing for the annual event. From choosing the perfect gown and matching tuxedo to finalizing hair appointments, plans for the perfect prom have been in the works for several months. But when alcohol and a lack of responsibility are combined with that special night, as they often are, those memories can quickly turn to tragedy.

Let’s be blunt. Some will celebrate the wrong way. Often with tragic circumstances. Often involving a motor vehicle. Prom season should be a time of happiness. That’s why it’s important that parents talk with their teens about the consequences of drinking alcohol. Not just on prom night, but any time. Authorities will tell you that two of their biggest concerns for teens and drinking are during prom and graduation times. Check the grisly stats. Teens must know that drinking alcohol during their big night does not make them adults. Parents must be sure their teens know the rules now, before proms are held. Be stern and preachy. It’s what good parents do.

Teens must be sure they know not to get into the car with any driver who has been drinking, and they must know they are responsible for their own actions. If teens truly want to prove what adults they have become, they must show they know how to prove they’re worthy of the responsibility.

Some tips for parents include:

— A teen should know his or her date. If it was an arranged date, be sure they get together with their prom partner before their big night. Parents should get to know who the date is, too. And tell them to use their seat belts.

— Curfews should be made clear.

— A parent or other adult friend or relative should be near a phone on prom night in case the teen needs assistance. Memo to parents: in an attempt to become a “cool” mom or dad, remember that if you provide alcohol to a minor, you a legally culpable. Regardless of circumstances.

— Teens need to know that parents must be kept informed of plans. If the plans change, the teens should know to call home to tell the family just where they’re going and when.

Parents, please don’t let this busy time of the year deter you from being an active part of your child’s prom. Talk to your children about the importance of being adults, especially on their prom night. Will “some thing” or “any thing” happen to your child? Let us hope not. That goes for all families out there. But ultimately something always does happen to someone. Parents, please invoke and enforce the common sense rule. Be vigilant with your children as they approach full adulthood. And get ready to stay up late on prom night waiting for your child to return home safety. It’s what good parents do.


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