How to talk to your teens about "grad sleepout"

North Vancouver

2020-09-03 12:17 PDT

As we move into the Labour Day long weekend North Vancouver high school students are preparing for a new normal for their back to school routines.

As in previous years, some students entering Grade 12 will be participating in the traditional grad sleepout camping and party event in the North Shore mountains. As the weekend approaches, North Vancouver RCMP are offering students and parents some guidelines for discussions around celebrating safely in general, and some important information about recently issued COVID-19 Provincial Health Orders related to gatherings and events.

In our experience, students who have participated in grad sleepouts are generally responsible young people enjoying the natural increases in freedom we all experienced as we grew up, said Sgt. DeVries of the North Vancouver RCMP. We just want to remind them and their parents that with increased freedom comes increased responsibility. Those responsibilities, said DeVries, include abiding by Provincial and Federal laws, Municipal bylaws, and respecting the rules of good citizenry.

Aside from following the laws about alcohol and cannabis, right now everyone has a responsibility to help stop the spread of COVID-19, said DeVries. And although these young people now bear most of the responsibility for their conduct, it’s not absolute yet. There remains an onus on parents to continue to be a positive influence on their children, and to help them make good choices, he said. Since grade 12 students are predominantly under 18, they are still considered youths under the law. That means when it comes to Provincial or Municipal fines for offences, parents may still be legally on the hook to pay up.

Sgt. DeVries said RCMP are encouraging parents to have frank discussions with their children not only about alcohol and cannabis, but also about the new Health Orders and penalties for violations. I don’t imagine any parent would be happy if their kid came home with a $1000 ticket in their back pocket.

Tips and Resources

Opening up the discussion

Let your children know that you are open to conversations with them and want to hear their thoughts. You can do this in a casual or a more planned way (for example, at a family meeting).

To open up the discussion, it is helpful to:

• try to avoid lecturing or sermonizing and focus more on having an open discussion;
• keep a relaxed attitude and encourage your children to ask questions and to tell you what they think;
• try to understand your child's point of view;
• don't expect teens to agree with you about everything just because you are the parent. (Keep in mind, though, that parents have rights too!);
• develop active listening skills;
• be as concise and objective as possible when explaining the facts about drugs and discussing the pros and cons.

Resources for parents

RCMP Centre For Youth Crime Prevention
Drug Free Kids Canada
Media Smarts: Helping Kids Stay In Touch While Social Distancing
Canadian Pediatric Society: COVID, Youth, And Substance Use

Resources for youth

North Vancouver School District COVID-19 Resources for Parents, Educators and Students 



 

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