From the Lakes Area Youth Service Bureau
Prom and graduation season is fast approaching and teens are anxious to celebrate. While these events are a rite of passage for most teens, they can become opportunities for poor decision making.
Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly common for chemical use to be a part of the celebration. These chemicals are often supplied to minors by parents and older adults. When adults are not adhering to local laws they are putting themselves, the youths involved and the entire community at risk.
When minors celebrate with chemicals, they lose their ability to make good decisions. They can find themselves in a variety of bad situations including driving under the influence, being taken advantage of and getting involved with law enforcement for the wrong reasons.
Here are some helpful tips and alternatives to help everyone celebrate and stay safe this prom season:
• Youths need safe transportation: Make every effort possible to provide safe transportation for your youth and their friends. Contact the parents of the other youths involved and coordinate transportation with them.
• Mutual Communication: Make sure youths have parent contact information during celebration times. If an emergency occurs, they will have the information they need. Likewise, it is helpful if youths provide information to parents including all destinations, the names of friends/people involved, and estimated times of arrival and departure. Cell phones help but do not replace knowing where your child is and at what time.
• Boundaries based on trust: It is good for parents to give their teens the appropriate amount of freedom on prom night, based on trust that has been earned in the past.
• Safe Environment: Parents can provide safe environments, free of chemicals and temptation, where their youth can have a good time close to home. It is important to provide these opportunities so youths don’t have to look elsewhere for places to celebrate.
If you are looking for ideas or assistance on how to have these conversations with your teens, the Lakes Area Youth Service Burea offers free parent support meetings on Thursday nights at 6:30 p.m. You’ll find a safe place and supportive staff to bounce ideas off of and receive parenting support.
The Lakes Area Youth Service Bureau, 244 North Lake St., Forest Lake, can be reached at 651-464-3685.