As the weather turns cold and the holidays swiftly approach, there’s more to worry about than preparing meals, decking the halls, and wrapping gifts. If you’re the parent of a teenager, you’ll also have to deal with your child’s newfound downtime. While spending quality time with your teen is probably high on your wish list, chances are they’ll plan to spend a lot of their winter break out of the house with their friends. Holiday parties and icy roads all pose a threat to your teenager’s health and wellness — which is why it’s key to follow these holiday safety tips.
Holiday Safety Tips for Teenagers
Be Clear About Rules
The first of our holiday safety tips? Set clear, specific rules for your teenager — and follow through with punishments. Set a curfew for your teen along with a punishment for breaking it. Make it clear to your teen that underage drinking or illicit drug use is illegal and unacceptable. Explain the consequences of drinking and driving or drug use — medical, legal, and personal, including the individual consequences they’ll face, like losing cell phone or driving privileges. Don’t assume that your teenager will know how to behave just because they know the law. Holiday safety tips should always include frank discussions about substance use, since the holidays give your teen less supervision and structure, plus more time to socialize.
Refresh Their Winter Driving Skills
With winter weather comes rough road conditions — which is why one of the most important holiday safety tips is refreshing your teenager on winter driving techniques. Make sure they know to decrease speeds and steer into slides. Remind them to drive without distractions.
Always Ask Questions
Our holiday safety tips don’t include confining your teen to your home — this just isn’t a feasible option. But when your teen does hang out with friends, be sure to ask plenty of questions. Where are they going? When are they leaving, and when will they be back? Who’s supervising? Will there be drugs or alcohol? Don’t be afraid to call the parents of the teens hosting the party to ask a few questions. Staying informed about your child’s whereabouts is one of the best holiday safety tips.
Have Them Check In
This is one of our holiday safety tips that may be difficult to implement, since following it is up to your teen. But it goes back to staying informed. If your teen will be gone for a long period of time or will be traveling some distance, ask them to check in with you once or twice. Calling is best, as you can detect if things are alright or if they’ve been drinking by the tone of their voice. Set a specific time for your teen to call you, and if they don’t, call them. Remind them that these holiday safety tips shouldn’t be ignored.
Another one of our important holiday safety tips is discussing how your teen can respond when offered drugs or alcohol. Also let them know they can always call you if they need help and to immediately call 911 if someone needs medical attention due to drugs or alcohol.
Ensure They Have a Safe Ride
No list of holiday safety tips would be complete without a plan for how your teenager will get home after a night out. Be sure they know to never let a friend drink (or use drugs) and drive. Make sure they have money for a taxi or safe public transportation, and that they know they can always call you for a sober ride. Save the questions and the consequences for the day after — the most important holiday safety tips are intended to get your child home in one piece.
The holidays aren’t just party time for teenagers — as a parent, you’ll also have ample opportunities to indulge. The last of our holiday safety tips is to model responsible party-going to your teen — so be sure your behaviors reflect how you want your teen to act. No drugs, no alcohol abuse, no drinking and driving or riding with an impaired driver. Holiday safety tips aren’t just for your teens to follow — they’re also essential for your health.
Practice Holiday Safety Tips with ARCpoint Elk Grove Village
At ARCpoint Labs of Elk Grove Village, we care about your teenager’s safety year-round, which is why we’re happy to share these holiday safety tips. In addition, we can provide confidential drug and alcohol tests if you feel your teenager has a substance abuse problem. Call us today at (888) 401-2129 to learn more about our services.
Do you have any tried and true holiday safety tips? Let us know in the comments!