“Thanksgiving Eve” is arguably the crown jewel of party nights across the country. (Some Halloween fans might put up an argument)
It’s a time when kids and parents get out of school and work early. Families are stressed from prepping to travel to Grandma’s or planning to host a large gathering at their house. Our college students return home with lots of energy to visit with friends…albeit they seem only to use that energy after waking in the early afternoon and through all hours of the night. And many fridges and liquor cabinets are stocked ready for the days ahead of eating, family, football and more.
While we are all busy this time of year, preparing for the celebration of the holidays, it is as important as ever for parents to take time out to talk to their kids about the dangers of underage drinking and drug use. It’s important for parents to know that they are one of the top influencers in the lives of their children.
Here’s some guidelines to help around the holidays, adapted from the Governor’s Prevention Partnership.
- Make Time To Talk.While the holiday season is a time for young people to meet up with old friends, it is also a time to connect with family. Talk to your teen about the risks of underage drinking and drug use, while encouraging him or her to spend quality time with both family and friends.
- Don’t relax your rules just because it’s the holiday season. Teens still need limits and close monitoring. Expectations may need to be re-negotiated or reiterated for college students returning home.
- Ensure alcohol won’t be served at parties your teen attends.Check in with the parents of your teen’s friends, even though this may be unpopular with your son or daughter. Also, be available to provide a ride home if something unexpected happens. Good advice would be to talk about the situation in the morning, rather than right then and there.
- Be aware that unsupervised teens are at risk for alcohol use. If you leave home for a night of celebration, unsupervised teens may help themselves to your liquor cabinet or refrigerator. Be sure to lock alcohol up and set expectations for having friends over. If possible, have another adult stop by to check in with your child.
- If you host adult parties in your home and plan to serve alcohol, be aware of your own consumption so that you can supervise any teens who may be present. Make sure that you or another adult is monitoring the situation and keeping an eye on both the alcohol and teens who might try to access it at the party.
- Be a good role model. Show your kids that you know your own limits, always designate a driver and never let someone drive away from your home intoxicated.- Finally, remind yourself and your teens that there is a social host law in Connecticut that prohibits any youth or adult from knowingly allowing underage access to alcohol. Underage drinking laws can be found here.
- And remember, the easiest place for kids to get beer, is right next to the milk.
Here’s to hoping you and your family have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.
If you or someone you know needs help around this issue, you can find local support here:
Department of Human Services 203-594-3076
New Canaan Police Department, 203-594-3500
New Canaan CARES, 203-966-7862
Silver Hill Hospital, 1-866-542-4455
Lower Fairfield County Regional Action Council, 203-356-1980 x108
This blog post is a coordinated effort between Sgt. Carol Ogrinc Youth Officer New Canaan Police Department and Tony Phillips, Youth Coordinator for the Town of New Canaan and is adapted from a Governor's Prevention Partnership newsletter.