Teens on New Year’s: Tips for Parents


Holidays draw out far more drunk drivers and according to the National Center for Health Statistics, car crashes are the leading cause of death for those between the ages of 15 and 20. Teen crash rates are also three times more common and likely than those with even just a few extra years of experience. Add in the likelihood or at least peer pressure associated with drinking and driving and many parents may be tempted to lock their kids in the closet until the ball drops. But there are some simple and effective ways you can let your teens have their New Year’s fun without worrying about them being involved in a fatal auto accident.

Get Full Plans Days Before the Holiday

Your teens may not know what they’re doing for New Year’s on Christmas Day, but they should know within a few days afterward. Don’t let them sneak in plans or change things up moments leading up to New Year’s or even within a day of the celebration. If they want to go out without you, they need to be mature enough to provide the plan. That should include names and numbers of the friends they’ll be going out with, how they’re planning to get there and plans on returning home safely.

Before Agreeing, Discuss and Confirm Plans with the Other Parents

Before agreeing to any plans your teen wants to make, contact the parents of the other kids and confirm necessary facts. Verify the details of the excursion or celebration are accurate. Make sure there will be no access to any alcohol or illegal substances. And confirm entertainment, transportation plans, and chaperone or adult supervision options. Yes, your teen may roll their eyes or even start a fight over it but it’s better than being played and waking to every parent’s worst nightmare.

Create a Check-In and Code Word Plan

Make it clear that if your teens want to enjoy their freedom, they have to follow certain rules and those include check-in procedures, code word plans, and curfews. If you think they’ll forget to check-in at certain times, inform them you’ll be calling them at random times and not picking up will lead to consequences such as loss of future social privileges or phone access. Make a solid agreement that if things get out of control or they get uncomfortable, they can text or call with a specific code word and you’ll come to pick them up immediately. And insist on a curfew time for them to return home safely and securely.

Host the Teen Celebration

Your teen may insist they don’t drink but according to national statistics, one-third of teens have had at least one drink by the age of 15. And that percentage swells to 60% by the time they reach 18. Almost 8 million teens drink socially on a monthly basis, so even if your teen doesn’t, chances are they’ll be hanging out or even riding with someone who does. So why not eliminate most of the worries and host a celebration for your teen and their friends? That way there’s a safe and secure venue, you can oversee every detail and ensure no illegal substances are involved, it can evolve into a sleepover if it’s small enough, and your kid can get social credit for its success. If nothing else, by following the above tips you’ll likely ring in the New Year without needing a Michigan car accident lawyer.

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