Once kids become Teens, New Year’s Eve is an exciting holiday for late parties and loud celebrations, but to you, a concerned parent, New Year’s comes with a number of concerns for your teen’s safety. There are tragedies every year on New Year’s involving alcohol and driving. As a parent you want to keep your children safe, but also let them have a fun time with friends.
You’ll have to make some tough calls that your kids may not be too happy about, but following these six things you can do to help keep your kids safe will give you some ease:
- A safe place to celebrate: Sometimes it’s not the party itself that concerns parents, but it where the party is. Your kids can easily get lost on crowded streets or at packed venues, getting separated from their friends and putting them in an unsafe situation. Consider instead, a safer environment for your kid’s New Year’s celebration, such as an at home party with kids their own age. Letting them celebrate in the safety of a familiar home takes the worry out of where they’ll be and who they’ll be around.
- Know who your child will be with: Who your children are around on New Year’s Eve is a big factor on their safety. You want them to have fun, enjoy their friends, and make great New Year’s memories, but you also want them to be around responsible people who will ensure your teen’s safety. Guide them to make the right choice of friend groups for the evening. Make sure they have a friend, with which they have a strong relationship with, by their side through the night. Talk with the parents who will be the parental supervision for the night, and check in from time to time.
- Check in throughout the night: Checking in can sometimes make your kids feel like you don’t trust them, so to avoid frustrating conversations throughout the night make an agreement beforehand. When you make agreements with your children prior to a night like New Year’s Eve, they are much more receptive in the moment when they are expected to follow through with their end of the agreement. You don’t want to go too long without talking to your kids on a night like this. An easy way to stay in touch is to agree to talk once every hour. That might sound a little excessive to your young adults, but a quick hello is pretty painless.
- An alcohol free zone: A big concern for parents on a night like New Year’s is the substances their child may have access to. To reiterate on number two, knowing who your kids will be with is extremely important. It can be a difficult topic to bring up to other parents, but it’s important that you know where the party’s parental supervision stands on alcohol consumption by minors. Some parents sadly don’t think it’s a concern and sometimes even provide the alcohol themselves. Talk with the parents that will be in charge of your teen for the night and be sure they have the same values that you and your family live by.
- Set a curfew: Nights like New Year’s Eve can get crazier as the night goes on. For this particular night, your kids will naturally expect a later curfew so that they can ring in the new year with all of their friends. After the ball drops however, it’s safest for your kids to either come home or settle in for the night. You don’t want them out until all hours of the night getting into things they shouldn’t be doing. Pulling an all-nighter sounds fun, but can lead to poor decisions by teens looking for something daring to do.
- The ride home: If your teens are away from home celebrating, it’s safest for you, the parent, to be involved in getting them home safe and sound. Although your teen may be a great driver, there are other drivers on the road that can put your child in danger. It’s a late night and your teen’s reaction time may be altered because of exhaustion. Other drivers may have not made wise decisions when it comes to drinking and driving. Schedule a pick-up with your teen so that they don’t have to have the responsibility of driving themselves home or get stuck riding with someone you wouldn’t want them to.
While there are always risk factors for teens, you and your kids can put a plan in place to avoid New Year’s dangers. Put a plan together ahead of time, review it with your kids and make sure you are both in agreement. Follow these steps and pay attention to your instincts for a safer New Year’s for your kids.