Graduation from high school and the start of summer are prime drinking times for teens. Seniors have worked hard to graduate and to get into college and many feel that graduation is a time to cut loose. They often view their last summer before college as a time to party and enjoy life before getting back to the business of academics. There is nothing wrong with this attitude, except when it involves drinking. Seniors should celebrate and they should enjoy the summer, but drinking does not need to be a part of the experience. There are many safer ways to have fun and to celebrate. If you have a teen graduating from high school, it\u2019s time to investigate the alcohol-free alternatives to booze-filled parties. Why Is Alcohol So Bad for Celebrating? Eighteen-year-old high school grads, especially good students and generally well-behaved teens, can be very convincing. If your teen tries to persuade you that a little drinking at a graduation party will be fine and that she can handle it, beware. There is too much at stake to take a risk. When teens drink, their inhibitions drop and your child could end up making bad choices that affect the rest of her life. More than 3 million young people between the ages of 18 and 24 drink and drive every year. Two million drink heavily, riisking alcohol poisoning and other consequences. Over 1 million abuse alcohol and risk becoming dependent on it. The statistics are grim and make a convincing argument for abstaining. Project Graduation Many communities and school districts work together now to set up and host alternative, alcohol-free celebrations for graduates. One program, called Project Graduation, has been a huge success across the country. Different groups produce events with varying activities, but the general idea is to host a safe and fun party for graduating teens. The teens are locked down, typically in the high school, for a full night of partying without drugs or alcohol. Because they are kept in the school, parents can rest assured knowing their teens cannot get into trouble. Look for Project Graduation programs in your community and encourage your teen to get involved. Host a Graduation Party Another way to ensure your teen will be safe while celebrating graduation is to host an event in your home. It is a big responsibility, but if you enlist the help of other parents, it can be doable. The other parents will likely be happy to help, as it will provide a safe place for their kids to celebrate as well. Take keys at the door to ensure no one leaves and keep all teens there for the night. Plan games, movies and other fun activities to help celebrate. Take an Alcohol-Free Trip \u00a0A great way to reward your teen for all her hard work in high school is to plan a trip. Take the family away for a summer vacation and let her choose where you go. Give her options that are within your budget and let her design the celebratory trip of her dreams. You can show her how much you appreciate her hard work and keep her away from the alcohol-fueled parties that may be going on at home. Teens drinking and summer graduation parties go hand-in-hand, but it doesn\u2019t have to be this way. If you and other parents get involved and take an interest in what your teens are doing, you can be sure they celebrate in a way that is safe.