Teen Hazing: What Parents Should Know


I recently read a great article in Family Circle magazine about Hazing amongst kids and teens.  Hazing still very much exists.  There are a number of different types of hazing at different age levels:

Teen Hazing Levels:

1. Sports Related: The GBN Hazing Incident

In May of 2003 a number of students at Glenbrook High School covered fellow students after a football game with feces, urine and paint.  Many hazing rituals go on in sports teams in High Schools.

2. Girl Hazing

Unfortunately, we still get emails reporting girls are getting hazed in their group of female friends. This often happens to initiate girls into a clique.

3. Hazing in High School

Many 8th graders (a la Dazed and Confused) have to get ‘hazed’ before entering High School.  This can range from silly activities like scavenger hunts, to more sinister ideas.

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4. Hazing Freshmen in College

Of course many Greek organizations haze incoming freshmen or pledges as freshmen in college.

What parents can do about teen hazing:

1. Teen Alcohol Poisoning

Of course, I have many concerns about hazing, one of the biggest is the danger of alcohol poisoning during hazing rituals. Make sure your kids know the symptoms of alcohol poisoning and what to do if it happens.

2. Schools CAN Make A Difference

At one of the schools I went to, hazing is a large part of the junior culture. Although I did have to go through a hazing process, the school sent out emails to all parents alerting them to the possible hazing weekend and I was allowed to leave the party early from the senior gate-keepers because my parents had gotten the email and made my curfew earlier. I am very grateful for that letter.

3. You Can Be the Scapegoat

If you suspect your child is being hazed, be the scapegoat.  What I mean is, tell them they can always blame things on you even if you have not talked about it ahead of time if it means they can escape a hazing.  For example:

  • Forced binge drinking: They can say that their parents stay up and wait to see if they smell like alcohol
  • Pot Smoking: They can say that they have parents who drug test (even if you don’t)
  • Early Curfew: They can always say they have to be home really early because of church/strict parents/bad grades, even if this is not true if it will get them home.
  • No Random Sleepovers: They can say you call and sometimes stop by the house where you are sleeping over so they cannot crash at someone else’s house after drinking or hazing rituals.

I would talk to your kids about hazing openly and see if they heard anything about High School/College. Ask them what they would and would not do.  Often times teens have their own boundaries and can say no themselves. You just need to be there in case they can’t.

3 Responses to “Teen Hazing: What Parents Should Know”

  1. sandra
    April 12, 2010 at 10:35 am #

    I feel that your site and information needs to be read by all adults, it would help them get through the trying times of parenting..

  2. Vanessa Van Petten
    April 13, 2010 at 8:37 am #

    thank you very much!!

  3. Monica
    January 2, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    In Europe much hazing happens in university residences. In France we have a system called bizutage which can get out of control. There are reports of this in the French media. Apart from the hazing rituals there are some students singled out for more subtle punishments. My local newspaper carried a story of a university student who was not allowed to wear shoes anywhere for a whole term. Otheres are not allowed to use the library or common rooms. It is abig problem.

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