Your teen is about to graduate: Congratulations! That’s a big achievement – for both of you. If your teen plans on celebrating the event with friends, you might be concerned about his or her safety, especially if partying is likely to occur. Setting some ground rules before the big event can ensure that your teen understands your expectations and abides by them. Here are a few quick tips to help him or her stay safe:
•If your child is celebrating elsewhere, make seat belts the rule when driving or riding in a car – even in the back seat. Most states have seat belt laws, but make sure your child knows you expect him or her to wear them, no matter what kind of peer pressure is applied.
• Ask your children about their plans. It sounds a bit OCD, but make sure you have their basic itinerary, and make sure they know there will be consequences if they deviate from it.
• Talk about alcohol and drug use ahead of time. About 5.4 million teens engage in binge drinking, and many die as a result of it. The NIH has a list of talking points here.
• Let your child know you’ll be waiting up and that you’ll be ready to offer pick up – without judgment – if he or she ever feels unsafe.
• Be sure your teen’s phone is charged and that he or she has some money to call a cab or an Uber if need be.
• Make sure your teen knows to stay with friends and to avoid engaging in obviously dangerous activities. Express your fears and need for his or her safety in an authentic way.
• Consider creating a contract to set the rules in writing, and let your teen know you’re serious about your rules and expectations. You can find a sample contract here, but there are plenty of others on the web.
• Most importantly, make sure your teen understands WHY you’re setting rules — because you care and want him or her to stay safe.
If someone you love suffered an injury or illness due to someone else’s inaction or wrongdoing, our Washington D.C. personal injury attorneys may be able to help you.
Here’s a good and relevant refresher article on a similar topic: 7 Rules for How to Draw Up a Contract with Your Teen for Prom.