Parents:With the Homecoming parade and dance almost here, have you set some guidelines and expectations for your teen while they’re out celebrating? Drugs and alcohol may be present at any of the events before and after the parade, game and dance, so it’s important to tell your child your expectations and rules.
Not sure what to rules and guidelines you should set up? Here are some to consider:
- Know where your child is going and whom they are going with: Have your child give you an outline of where they’ll be and approximately for how long. That way, you know where they are at any given time. Ask for their friends’ phone numbers too, just in case you need to get ahold of them if they don’t answer a call or text.
Another idea: Turn on their smart phone’s GPS. It’s another way to track your child and ensure you know where they are.
- Ensure your teen is supervised: Your child might want to go over to a friend’s house before or after Homecoming, and you should insist that wherever they go, they must be supervised by an adult. Ask whom that person is and for their contact information, and follow up with them to see if they will be there, and what their stance on drugs and alcohol is. If it’s more liberal than yours, tell your teen they have to go somewhere else.
- Determine how they’re getting there: If your teen is driving, remind them about the rules of the road. (And tell them that you are not paying for any tickets!) If they’re going in a friend’s car, find out if their friend can legally drive with other minors in the car. If your teen is taking a party bus, introduce yourself to the driver and ensure they have the safety of the children in mind.
- If all else fails, transport your teen yourself. While they might complain about it, it’s the sure-fire way they get where they need to go safely.
- Schedule check-ins: Tell your child to call or text you when they arrive at any new place, or if they have a change of plans.
- Have a curfew: It may be a night for celebrating, but not all night. Nothing good happens after 2 a.m., so tell your child to be home before then.
- Remind them to monitor their own behavior: Everyone has a camera nowadays, and if your child is caught doing something risky or stupid, the photo could easily end up on the internet. Pictures on the internet last forever too, which could affect their chances at getting into college or getting a job. Getting expelled or arrested affects their future too.
- Talk to them about the dangers of drugs and alcohol: Studies have shown that teens are less likely to try drugs and alcohol if their parents talk to them about the dangers of it. If you aren’t sure what to say, check out some online resources at wellnessandpreventionsanclemente.com.
- Determine what the consequences will be if your child disobeys your rules: Independence is a good thing for a teen, as long as it doesn’t put their health and safety at risk. If your child fails to check in or you look at their GPS and they’re not where they say they are, decide what you’re going to do about it. You may even consider making them take a drug test the morning after Homecoming to ensure they followed your rules. While your child may protest, remind them this is for their health and safety.