Congratulations to all of our area’s graduates, and welcome home to all those students who have been away attending school. This is an exciting time, and certainly something to celebrate.
Before those celebrations get under way, we’d offer this piece of advice: Parents, if you haven’t done so already, it’s time to sit down and have an open, honest discussion with your kids about drinking.
This is by no means an endorsement of underage drinking. The perils of alcohol consumption are many and well documented, and just saying no remains the best advice.
But let’s not be naive; if kids want to try alcohol, they’re going to find a way to do it. And at some point, even the straightest-laced of young adults will find him or herself in a situation where alcohol is available, and they’re going to have a drink or two, or more.
Kids need guidance on how to handle those situations, and it needs to come from their role models — parents and guardians, and other influential adults in their lives — before they get bad advice from their peers.
Parents, be honest with your kids. Share your personal views and experiences. Make sure they understand the potential consequences of drinking too much, from the minor things like hangovers or embarrassing comments, to the most serious repercussions, including serious injury and even death. Make sure they understand that drinking leads to impaired judgement, and impaired judgement can lead to all sorts of bad decisions.
Kids, listen to your parents. Believe it or not, they were once in the same position you’re in now. Ask them how they handled it. Chances are, they can share some insight that will help you make better decisions.
However that conversation goes, please make sure you all agree on at least one thing: In any situation, kids can and should call their parents or guardians for a safe ride home. Far better to get that late night phone call from your child and avoid a dangerous situation, than to get it from the police, ambulance crew or hospital in the wake of a tragedy.