Monday, August 16, 2010

Chem Free Club Parties?

Parents today are facing all kinds of new situations and decisions—things that their own parents wouldn’t have ever heard of, or would have handled quite differently. Now we know a lot more about the way that teen brains develop and what’s safe, and what’s not.

I was reminded of this recently when I saw an advertisement for an all-ages chem free night at a local bar. It’s a tough call for parents. Should you let your teen go to an all-ages events held at a bar?

On the one hand, it’s good to encourage your kid to do alcohol- and drug- free events, right? And Maine Liquor Law requires that alcohol be completely locked up at events like this, so it seems at first glance like it might be a good opportunity for teens to get out and have a little fun.

But we think that letting teens go to events like this isn’t a great idea, and here’s why:

  • Bar staff and security aren’t trained in the particular needs of teens—they’re used to being around adults who are completely responsible for themselves
  • The kids who are going aren’t generally closely monitored by the venue staff—and some will take advantage of this lack of oversight to sneak alcohol or drugs
  • It makes teens feel like going to bars is the best way to have fun
  • Depending on the location of the venue, there might be a lot of bars open nearby that are serving alcohol. Bar patrons and teens are not a good mix!

It’s better and safer to stick with chem-free events that are hosted in a location that never serves alcohol, like a school or teen center.

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