Miss Lori Offers Tips To Keep Your Teens Safe on New Year's EveMiss Lori
It’s New Years Eve, and like prom this evening has mythical standards to live up to for most teens. (Some adults too.) But the best way to ring in the new year is alive and safe. That’s why I have compiled a quick list of tips for you to share with your teen before they head out into the eve of a new year., because every parent wants to keep their teens safe.
Tell your kids, “Don’t DRINK ALCOHOL!” I mean it. DON”T! I can tell you from personal experience I never ever got drunk during my high school years and I didn’t miss out on anything. Literally, because I was conscious for it all. If a teen has to drink to have fun they are just lazy, or looking for an excuse to do something they know is wrong or bad for them, so they want alcohol to pave the way for their degradation. Tell them I said to “Get over it!” Be the person they can face in the mirror stone cold sober. And if their friends condem them for it then they are punks and not worthy of their time.
Speaking of drinking, there are people out there who think it is funny to lace people’s non-alcoholic drinks with drugs or vodka. It’s not funny at all. What it is is illegal and dangerous. That’s why I suggest that you advise your teen to stick with cans and bottles that they themselves open. Or if they are out at an all ages event go to the bar themselves and watch the soda come from the spigot. Seems a little overblown? Watch the news. Scan the internet. You will see how common a spiked drink is, and worse yet how detrimental the effects are. It’s worth it to be a little extra vigilant.
Tell your teen if it doesn’t feel right, leave. Trust their gut. Teens are even more intuitive than they often are given credit for. The trick is to get them to act on those instincts in defense of their own well being. Instruct them that if they smell drugs, or see them being used, get out. They don’t want to get a contact high, or get swept up in a police raid, or get tangled in any misbehavior that can result from people who have altered states due to drug use. Teens are instinctive, but they also think they are invincible. Bad things won’t happen to them. And if they see their friends heading in the wrong direction they are more likely to tag along in an effort to protect them than run in the other direction, because they are fiercely loyal as well. But you need to remind your child that they can’t protect anyone if they are dead. They should run for help, not run toward the danger.
Advise your teen to make a mental note of the exits of any place they go to. Think of it like an airplane emergency checklist. When you enter unfamiliar territory it’s always good to get the lay of the land. They have to figure out where the bathroom is anyway, so why not figure out the exits as well. They will already know one, the door they came in, so they are halfway there.
Always let someone know where they are. My kids have to text me when they are en route somewhere, the address of their destination, and when they arrive. No need for an demeaning phone call. “Hi Mommy…” No, just a few discreet taps on the keys of their phones, which are probably tethered to their hands anyway as they document their evening’s exploits.
Speaking of documenting, make sure, if you haven’t already, you know all of your child’s screen names for their various social media sites. And make double sure you have friend access to them. Now I don’t want you to go on their site and start liking everything and posting little notes like, “Oh that’s so cute.” But I do want you to, or more specifically, I want your child to know that you are paying attention. Just that fact alone could be a deterrent to them posting something that is inappropriate and potentially harmful to their present and future.
Don’t let them drive. I’m sure your child is an excellent driver. But a night of revelry with friends can be very distracting. Add to that the numerous less-than-safe drivers who take to the roads on an evening of worldwide celebration such as this one. Why take a chance? Arrange for a car service, share the chauffeur duties with fellow parents, plot out a public transportation route, finance cab rides. It might cramp your evening plans or cost you a little bit extra, but the peace of mind makes it all worth while.
Speaking of funds, make sure your child has enough to take care of the night and for any emergencies that could arise. I’m a big fan of sending a new giftcard sealed, and “only to be opened in an emergency”. You can collect it at the end of the night and use it again as a backup should it go unopened. This is insurance, and you always want to have insurance.
Talk sex. I hope that you already have, but the conversation should be fluid and ongoing. Talk about respect for their bodies and respect for others. Talk about the increased joy that comes from being with someone that you truly care about in any manner, as opposed to giving their essence away at random. Talk about the fact that when you open the door to sex you can never close it again. It is always on the table. Get real about health, safety and protection. Remind them that just because someone looks nice doesn’t mean they aren’t carrying something nasty. And be open. Don’t have a knee-jerk, negative reaction. You want your teen to feel comfortable and confident talking to you. The worst thing that can happen is that they get their information on the street instead of from you.
Now this one might seem extremely excessive, but given the state of the world we are living in I lean more towards the safe rather than the sorry. Establish a distress word. This is a word that your child can use if they are in trouble and in need of assistance, but for whatever reason can’t share the details out loud. Maybe they are amongst people pressuring them and they feel it would be unwise to publicly protest. Or maybe they are being forced to communicate a more positive message about their well being than is actually true. Whatever the scenario, it’s a good idea to have a word that lets you know immediate protective action is in need. Having this word won’t bring on trouble, but it may help your child if they get into some.
For more tips on talking to your kids about violence and the Newtown tragedy please go HERE.
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