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Homecoming is an annual rite of passage for high school students, and one that often involves alcohol. Underage drinking and alcohol-related crashes involving minors tend to increase during homecoming season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • 22% of teen drivers involved in fatal car crashes were drinking.
  • More than half of fatal motor accidents involving teen drivers occur on weekends.
  • Teens who use alcohol are far more likely to binge drink than adults.

Homecoming can come with more chances and pressures to drink. As students get ready for the big game and dance, here are 5 actions parents can take to prevent underage drinking.

Discuss your expectations about alcohol use

Parents may feel anything they say to their teen goes in one ear and out the other. In fact, parents do influence teens’ drinking decisions. Research shows children may interpret a parent’s failure to talk about underage drinking as indifference, making them more likely to use alcohol. Have regular conversations with your teen about alcohol misuse, and specifically talk about it before events, like homecoming, that may include alcohol.

Find out who your teen will be with and talk with the other students’ parents

Ask whether adults will be present if teens come by after the official event and consider the other family’s attitude toward underage drinking. Even though it is illegal and dangerous, some parents choose to provide alcohol to teens in their home. Asking questions won’t score you any “cool” points with your kid, but it will help keep your teen safe.

Provide a sober after-party space

Many students want the night to continue after the game or dance ends. Providing an alcohol-free environment allows the party to keep going safely. And it’s important for parents to actively supervise after-parties. Adults can be held responsible for failing to supervise minors who are later caught drinking, even if the adult didn’t supply or know about the booze.

Offer to drive or pay for a limo

Providing a guaranteed designated driver ensures your child won’t end up in a car with an intoxicated person behind the wheel. Driving your teen or using a car service also removes other risks, such as texting or distracted driving, which may increase with the excitement of the evening.

Let your teen know you are “on call”

No matter what, some students will choose to drink during homecoming. While parents should not condone underage drinking, it’s important for teens to know they can call for help if they or their friends don’t have a safe ride or are in danger.

What other ideas do have to keep students safe and alcohol-free during Homecoming 2013?

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Sobering Up Administrator

Sobering Up Administrator

Sobering Up: A blog about drunk driving, alcohol addiction, and criminal justice, is anything but a corporate blog. Sobering Up is an opportunity for anyone interested or involved in the issues of drunk driving, alcohol-fueled crime, alcohol dependence and addiction, and the justice system to participate in the conversation.

4 Comments

  1. I think this is an excellent post with some excellent tips. I think at that age, teenagers are very excited to drink and party and they should be shown how to continue responsibility. I think there are so many dangers to excessive drinking that most teenagers are not aware of and so this hard-truths should be discussed. I particularly like the idea about the sober-up party. It is almost like meeting them in the middle. You are letting them continue partying but in a safe and trusted environment.

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