What is it about this time of year that makes otherwise rational parents seem to lose their grip on reality?
Think about it. Parents who would never consider putting their 17 year-olds on a plane for Daytona Beach during Spring Break, proudly wish them well when they head for an unsupervised weekend at the Jersey shore. Somehow, the dangerous drinking and casual sex they have seen on television couldn’t possibly be happening at Seaside. “Not my Kid” becomes a parent’s wishful thinking mantra.
Studies have revealed that 40 percent of teen traffic fatalities during the prom and graduation weekends were alcohol-related. In fact, underage drinking is a major factor in the two leading causes of teenage deaths: car crashes and fatal injuries. Underage high-risk drinking (and make no mistake, this is the only way they drink) is also linked to two thirds of sexual assaults and date rapes of teens and increases the likelihood of unsafe and unplanned sexual activity.
If a concern for safety is not enough to promote responsible parental behavior, perhaps knowing the legal and financial risks of serving alcohol to minors or renting hotel rooms for minors under their name will help. Serving alcohol to any underage child other than your own is illegal. Should any harm come to that child or someone else as a result of that child’s alcohol use, whoever provided the alcohol is legally liable. In other words, renting a hotel room could cost you your house.
With all of that in mind, here are some tips for parents and care givers that hold true, no matter what time of year it is:
As much as they would like to think so, teens do not think or act like adults. It’s up to the real adults to protect our children by being parents. Fatal car accidents, injuries, and assaults are not rites of passage for any adolescent.