Parenting Through Spring Break

Spring Break presents a great opportunity for parents to talk to their teens about hook-up culture, sexual assault, binge drinking and drug use. Research affirms that your voice as a parent matters to your teen. Studies show that teens whose parents frequently talk to them about substance abuse are 50 percent less likely to try alcohol or drugs.

Here are some tips to help you have a conversation about drugs and alcohol with your child:

  • Avoid turning "the talk" into a lecture. Engage in discussion in a relaxed setting. Start by asking them what they know and how they feel about underage drinking.
  • Establish rules and expectations, but emphasize throughout that the key concerns are not social ones, but have to do with personal safety and health risks.
  • Use natural conversation starters to your advantage. If someone on a TV show or in a movie is using drugs, take the time to talk about the negative consequences of their actions and ask your child what they would do in a similar situation.
  • If your child is going to be with another family during Spring Break, be sure to find out who will be there and ensure that your child will be supervised. Speak with the parents to decide if they will provide a level of oversight that you are comfortable with.
Finally, being active in planning parties at your house and inviting your child's friends on family outings allows you to better control the invite list and atmosphere. Learn more about how you can make your home the go-to place for your teen and friends to hang out over Spring Break in a previous Abstinence Clearinghouse article, Make Your Home Teen-Friendly.