May 25, 2023


Celebrating Together with Prevention by Amy Bedard

Graduation season is here! A time to celebrate accomplishments and family with a BBQ or graduation party. It’s also a time for graduates to celebrate with their friends and classmates. Parents, while you may want to maintain some freedom for your graduate, do you know what their celebration plans are?
Alcohol at a party has become a norm, but early use of alcohol, marijuana, and other substances puts teens at a greater risk for addiction and other health problems. The good news is alcohol and substance use can be prevented. Parents are the number one influence on their kids; so, what are some ways to prevent alcohol or substance use?

• Don’t accept use as a rite of passage to adulthood.
• Set clear rules against using alcohol, marijuana, and other substances.
• Help your kids deal with peer pressure and stress.
• Be a good role model.
• Talk with them early and often about the ways substances and alcohol can harm them – ask questions and be a good listener.
• Stay involved with their lives.
• Know who their friends are, and where they are going.

Some may think that it would be safer if their teen has a party in their home, but the truth is, teens can consume toxic levels of alcohol and substances just as easily at home. They are also more likely to think it’s ok to drink or use when they are with their friends. Talking early and talking often is the best way to prevent use and create trust between you and your teen.

Don’t know where to start? Here are some tips from

•Create close bonds:
o play games.
o do a fun activity together.
o eat together.
o talk to them about not using alcohol, marijuana, and other substances.

• Set clear boundaries:
o Have regular conversations about your expectations.
o Use fair and consistent consequences any time your rules are broken.
o Help your teen to practice ways to say no to substances.

•Monitor interactions:
o Where are you going?
o What will you be doing?
o Who will you be with?
o When will you be home?
o Will there be alcohol or other substances?

By having these conversations, you can help your teen understand the risks, and make a plan to help them if they are in a situation that they feel unsafe, or uncomfortable. Allow yourself to be available for them and let them know to call you, or if you’re not available another trusted adult, to safely get them home.

For more information and tips on how to have these conversations with your graduates and teens visit:

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