Preparing Your Teen for Purim

Dr. David Pelcovitz Offers Parents Seven Tips for a Safe and Meaningful Holiday

Dr. David Pelcovitz, The Gwendolyn and Joseph Straus Professor of Psychology and Jewish Education at the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, offers parents seven tips to prepare their teens for a safe and meaningful holiday.

Dr. David Pelcovitz
Dr. David Pelcovitz

  1. Don’t wait until Purim rolls around. Find a quiet and receptive time to talk to your child about your expectations and guidelines for ensuring that they have a safe and meaningful holiday.
  2. Model good behavior! If you set expectations for your child on Purim, be sure to model responsible behavior in your own Purim drinking.
  3. Help your adolescent develop refusal skills. Sometimes teens need the language to help them stay away from risky situations. Before Purim, make sure they know how to say no.  Some examples of such statements that you can rehearse with your child include:  “My dad or mom would kill me if they knew I was around drugs” or a simple “No, thanks. It’s not for me.”
  4. Know where your teen will be on Purim night, who they will be with and what he or she will be doing during unsupervised time.
  5. Trust but verify. Call the parents whose home is to be used for a party. And don’t be afraid to stop by and say hello on Purim night (and make sure that adult supervision is in place).
  6. Make it easy to leave a party where alcohol is easily available. Discuss in advance how your child can signal you or another designated adult who will come get your son or daughter the moment he or she feels uncomfortable. Later, be prepared to talk about what happened.
  7. Remember that rules without relationships equal rebellion. In finding the right balance between trust and supervision, a good relationship is the most powerfully protective ingredient.

Check out Dr. Pelcovitz and YU’s Institute for University-School Partnership webinar for parents and educators on how to effectively deal with substance abuse with your children or students. The webinar includes advice on how to identify the symptoms of substance abuse and how to effectively respond.

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