Dances, parties and other get-togethers play an important role in helping our young people develop social skills and grow as individuals. However, the involvement of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs at these events can take an otherwise positive experience and turn it into a major threat to safety and health. In addition, the sale, provision or allowed consumption of alcohol and other drugs by minors is against the law. Adults can be sued and/or prosecuted for incidents or injuries stemming from alcohol and other drug use by minors within their homes or properties.
All of us parents,schools,community organizations, religious groups � need to be involved in our children�s lives in order to prevent the onset,use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Yes,parties can and should be fun. They also should be planned, supervised and safe,providing activities that interest young people and abundant opportunities to socialize without the use of alcohol,tobacco and other drugs.
This article is designed to give you information and guidelines on:
� Planning parties and social events
� Establishing ground rules. For parties and events at your home or on your property. When your teen attends parties/events outside of your home
� Supervision,role modeling,and making a difference
� The laws regarding underage use of alcohol,tobacco and other drugs
By educating yourself and your teen,and providing opportunities for open communication,you are increasing the chances your teen will be able to make healthy and substance-free choices.
�Plan the party with your teenager and review the guest list.
�Establish the ground rules and be sure your teenager understands and is in agreement of these rules.(See next Section)
�Establish what time the party will start and end, and make sure all guests are aware of it.
�Plan events around a specific activity or theme � skating,swimming,a cookout,a movie night,a sporting event,etc.
�Provide plenty of non-alcoholic refreshments, foods and snacks. Encourage your teenager to do the grocery list and shopping with you.
�Invite another parent,couple or adult friend to help supervise and provide company during the event. They will be available to help out if problems arise. Consider inviting a guest�s parents to help out.
�Discuss potential problems or situations that might arise with your teenager ahead of time and