It's hard to believe, but the holidays are right around the corner. It seems like only days ago that your child left for school, and now you're making plans for Thanksgiving break. You are undoubtedly looking forward to the time with your child and perhaps meeting the new friends that they are bringing home.
While you may be making plans for the perfect Thursday meal, your child and those friends may have their own plans for Wednesday night. Like many kids home from college, your child may expect to be drinking that night.
The night before Thanksgiving has earned the nickname "Blackout Wednesday." You probably don't have to guess why that name is appropriate. While binge drinking, including underage drinking, seems to be on the decline in general, Thanksgiving eve is fast becoming an opportunity during which young people drink to excess. In fact, Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports that the day before Thanksgiving is catching up with New Year's Eve and July Fourth as the most dangerous times to be on the road because of drunk drivers.
If your child is underage, it is possible he or she had little experience with alcohol prior to leaving for college. As strong as you may like to hope your child is, peer pressure is a very real thing, especially for someone who is away from home for the first extended period of time and without parental supervision. Certainly, you will want to speak frankly to your child of the dangers of excessive drinking by offering the following suggestions:
- Know your limits: Young people often have no idea how much or how quickly alcohol will affect them.
- Don't use alcohol to work through problems: Coming home from college can be stressful, and alcohol abuse is not an appropriate coping tool.
- Keep an eye on your friends: Knowing the signs of intoxication will help your child recognize when friends are in trouble.
- Don't drink and drive: Assuring your child that he and any friends can trust you to pick them up if they have had too much to drink may save them from making a deadly mistake.
In the event that your child attempts to drive home after drinking, you may find yourself getting a call from Louisiana police informing you that they have arrested your child for DUI. While you may be grateful for your child's safety, you may now wish to seek legal assistance to protect your child's future, including any financial aid, scholarships or internship opportunities that a DUI conviction may jeopardize.