This weekend, Chicago hosts one of the biggest festivals in America, Lollapalooza. Lollapalooza is compared to Woodstock, perhaps because of the free-for-all, hippy-freedom atmosphere, not to mention the incomparable music. It draws over 100,000 people each day for the three day festival and is well-attended by teens. They love the music and hanging with friends. Yet, the lack of supervision can pose great risks too.
Lurie Children’s Hospital reports that during last year’s festival, 102 adolescents between the ages of 13 and 20 were admitted to the hospital for drinking related incidences. This was over twice the number of admits at the second highest weekend festival, Spring Awakening. Reports indicate that a majority of the people who are admitted to the hospital are white females from the North Shore. So, it DOES happen with OUR kids here in the ‘burbs.
How to Talk to Your Teen about Drinking/Drugs/Risky Behavior at Any Music Festival:
- Discuss with your teenager that staying with friends is important. Safety in numbers. Always.
- Never accept anything or give anything to anyone you do not know. I know it sounds like common sense, but teens are not the least impulsive people and sometimes do not think clearly about what is happening around them.
- Be mindful of their own surroundings. If it seems “off”, it probably is.
- Have them discuss a plan with friends about not drinking and watching out for each other. Make sure they STICK to it!
- Keep their money in a location in FRONT of them, so they have access to it easily, but pick-pocketers don’t.
- Have access to money if something happens and they need to take a cab or buy food/water quickly.
- Eat well before they leave home. A full stomach slows the absorption of alcohol if they choose to drink (and don’t tell you)
- Make sure that even when they are drinking water or non-alcoholic drink that they never put their drink down or hand it to someone else. Most “date drugs” are colorless, odorless, and tasteless.
- Establish rules and consequences. Rules might include no underage drinking, leaving parties where alcohol is served and not riding in a car with a driver who’s been drinking. Agree on the consequences of breaking the rules ahead of time — and enforce them consistently.
- Come up with a shared code word that will help both of you understand your teenager needs you as soon as possible.
The links below share more information about the festivals and alcohol consumption risks and statistics.
What other advice would you tell parents to tell their kids prior to music festivals like Lollapalooza?