What is Blackout Wednesday?

by Rebecca Smith

Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season, there’s another day parents should keep in mind: the night before, sometimes referred to as “Blackout Wednesday” or “Drinksgiving.”

The night before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest nights of the year for bars around the country, and unfortunately underage drinking is high as well; college students are home for the holiday and teens are out of school.

Talking to your child about the dangers and your disapproval is one of the best ways to deter them from drinking; experts recommend having the conversation with your children early and often. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting the conversations as early as 9 years old. Even if your child is older, it’s not too late. The good news is research shows talking to your teen, or even your college student, about the dangers of underage drinking still has an impact on their decision (Even college students still listen to their parents’ wishes)!

Even drinking at home underage is not a good idea. Many parents think they can teach their child to drink responsibly at home or “take the mystery away.” Unfortunately, the teen brain is not wired to learn these kinds of lessons yet; research shows teens who drink at home are more likely to binge drink when they’re out with their friends. Here’s our previous blog post with more about that and other myths that parents believe about alcohol.

Drinking underage is not safe, even if you take away the keys. Did you know less than 40% of alcohol-related underage deaths are car crashes? Not to mention that alcohol damages the still-developing teen brain. Here’s our previous blog post on that and other consequences of teen drinking.

There are a few key tips for how to have this conversation: Ask their thoughts, tell them about the dangers in a loving way, set clear boundaries and appropriate consequences. The Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s Power of Parents booklet has more details about how to have that conversation.

In addition to having the conversation with your children, be sure to monitor your alcohol this holiday season and keep an eye out if any goes missing.

However you are choosing to celebrate this year, we hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!