reindeer-160870This holiday season it is very important to make sure that your teenager is safe especially with all of the traditions and holiday parties that may include alcohol. While holidays are certainly a time to celebrate, Buffalo County Community Partners and Parents Take A Stand want to make sure all homes in Buffalo County are safe from underage drinking this holiday season.

As parents take part in holiday festivities, it is of critical importance that they make healthy choices around the use of alcohol. According to a recently released report from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, “teens that have seen their parent(s) drunk are likelier to drink and get drunk than teens that have not seen their parent(s) drunk. They are also likelier to try cigarettes and marijuana”.  If you are hosting a party, and there are minors present, it is your job to ensure they are not either openly or secretively drinking any alcohol which you have provided.

A few holiday party tips for parents:   Be direct. Tell your child, prior to the party, that he or she is absolutely prohibited from drinking and using illegal substances. Be a good role model. Have a plan for those who drink too much and make sure your guests do not drink and drive. If you are hosting the party, offer an ample amount of non-alcoholic drinks, foods, and games to all. Be sure to dispose of all unfinished beverages so children do not pick up any containers lying around.

Here are some more safe party guidelines provided by madd.org:

  • As guests RSVP, confirm that they have a plan for a safe way home via a non-drinking designated driver (rideshare service, public transportation, taxi, etc.).
  • Plan activities like party games or door prize drawings that do not involve alcohol and engage people, resulting in a lower consumption of alcohol.
  • Do not push drinks! Drinking at a party is not mandatory for having a good time.
  • Provide plenty of food to keep your guests from drinking on an empty stomach.
  • Avoid too many salty snacks, which tend to make people thirsty and drink more.
  • Offer non-alcoholic beverages or mocktails for non-drinking designated drivers and others who prefer not to drink alcohol.
  • Never serve alcohol to someone under 21 and never ask anyone under 21 to serve alcohol at parties.
  • If, despite your efforts, some of your guests have had too much to drink, never let them drive home impaired.
  • Have the number of a taxi service or a rideshare app on hand or offer your sofa to guests who need to stay put.
  • Have fun – but not too much fun. To be a good host, you should stay within your limits in order to make sure your guests stay within theirs. – See more at the MADD Safe Party Guide.

If your child is going to a party at a friend’s house, phone ahead and make sure there will not be any alcohol beverages available.

Have you taken Buffalo County Community Partners Safe Homes Pledge?  The Safe Home Pledge is dedicated to helping provide a safe social environment for youth in our homes and homes of other community members. Safe Homes provides an opportunity for parents to join together to create an open communication among parents; assist parents in establishing guidelines for their children’s behavior, to prevent the use of alcohol and other substances amongst youth, and to establish social gathering standards for parents, youth, and the community.  Learn more about Partners Safe Homes Pledge.