Spring means parties, proms and social gatherings. An Iowa pediatrician says it also can be a risky time of year for young adults. Dr. Ken Cheyne says they may be teenagers, but they urgently need their parents’ guidance right now. Any time teens go out and drink and the parents don’t catch them, or catch them but don’t talk to them, it sends the signal that it’s OK to do it. He says the overconfidence of typical teens also may put them at risk. If teens have been drinking at a party and DO manage to drive home without incident, they’ll assume it’s safe and they’re different than everybody else. One thing parents worry about is whether honestly talking with teens will mean confessing their OWN youthful folly. Cheyne says it’s good for parents and teens to have open discussions about alcohol, and notes parents can talk about pressure and use by saying “We all have done stupid things that we wish we wouldn’t have.” He says they can talk about the pressures, why people drink, alternatives to drinking andf even situations in which you didn’t plan to drink but did — can you call Mom and Dad for a ride home? Talk about the expectations your family has. Dr Cheyen’s a pediatrician at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines and works in adolescent medicine.
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