Message for Parents
Parents have the greatest impact on how early and how much their children drink. That’s the message being sent to parents across the state. “With graduation time, proms. weddings and other occasions coming up, responsible adults need to reinforce the message that underage drinking is illegal and dangerous,” says Stephen Ristau, president and CEO of The Governor’s Prevention Partnership. In Connecticut, alcohol ranks along with marijuana as one of the two top drugs of choice for youth. Connecticut kids start drinking alcohol as early as age 11 and drink at a higher rate than the national average. Recently released estimates from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reveal that underage drinkers in Connecticut rank eighth highest in the country for the past month’s use, and fifteenth highest for binge alcohol use. “And more than 60 percent of teen drinking happens at house parties,” says Ristau. “Parents are the key to making sure teens know about the dangers of alcohol.” Ristau, in partnership with the Connecticut Coalition to Stop Underage Drinking, offers the following parenting tips on how to have safe alcohol-free parties:
When your teen HOSTS a Party…
• Set ground rules ahead of time. Let your teen know what you expect from him or her as a host.
• Expect and encourage calls from other parents confirming the party plan.
• Inform all guests that there will be NO alcohol or illegal drugs permitted in your home or on your property.
• Provide adequate adult supervision during the entire party…Be Visible.
• Limit number of guests and set appropriate ending time.
• Know who is invited and enforce a NO crashing policy.
• Inform all guests that leaving and then returning to the party is not permitted. Have only one entrance/exit in use.
• Notify parents or police when teens arrive at a party under the influence of alcohol and or other drugs.
• Set ground rules ahead of time and be consistent.
• Call the parent host, to insure details regarding the party.
• Set a curfew.
• Expect your teen to stay at the party. If they chose to leave, have them contact you.
• Know how your teen will get to and from the party. Be available to provide transportation if needed.
• Insist that your teen NEVER rides with a driver who is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
• Be awake or be sure to have your teen awaken you when he/she arrives at home. Kiss goodnight…(in lieu of a breathalyzer!)