Prom season is upon us and, good or bad, it will be a memorable time for our kids. There’s so much anticipation and usually stress associated with the prom, from what to wear to whom to go with. It’s also expensive and time consuming for the parents! My good friend is hosting pre-prom for her daughter’s friends and is anticipating about 120 people in all!
No matter how responsible your teen is, have a conversation about how to be smart and safe on prom night. Many parents live in a state of denial and assume their straight A, star athlete child is not going to do anything unsafe. Wake up! As The Safety Mom, www.safetymom.com, I frequently hear stories of how parents were shocked when their child was arrested but worse, the stories of getting phone calls in the middle of the night that their son or daughter had been killed.
Many kids see prom night as a right-of-passage and also there is tremendous pressure put on them from friends. So even if you think your son or daughter would never do something unsafe, discuss some rules anyway:
Don’t drink and drive! We say it over and over to our kids but it’s worth repeating. Remind them that it’s not just about them, but they shouldn’t be getting into a car if the driver’s been drinking – even if it’s their boyfriend or girlfriend. Tell them to do everything they can to stop the other person from driving but if they can’t than they need to explain they don’t agree and walk away! They should understand that they can call you at any time for a ride.
Be safe driving sober as well – According to NHTSA, 70% of teens killed on prom weekend were not wearing seat belts. Make sure your daughter understands that wrinkling her dress is far less important than winding up dead or in the hospital. Also, if by the end of the evening they feel drowsy remind them not to drive and risk falling asleep behind the wheel.
Know the plans – While the proms themselves are usually well supervised, it’s what happens after the prom that can be dangerous. Many communities host post-prom parties so that the teens are still being chaperoned. If, however, your teens are going out on their own be sure you know exactly where they’re going and who they’re going with. Vague answers of “just driving around” don’t count. You want names, cell phone numbers for their friends and phone number for the parents of their friends. And you need to set curfews. This might be different than the regular time, but you still need to agree upon when they’ll be home.
Don’t make this the time to lose it – We’ve all seen the movies where the girl decides to lose her virginity on her prom night – BIG MISTAKE! This is where self-confidence and self-esteem come into play as well as your years of smart parenting about peer pressure. By now, you should have had “the talk” with your son or daughter – how condoms don’t protect from STDs and other diseases and can definitely break, how being pressured into sex should be a major warning sign for them and if it doesn’t feel right don’t do it! Sadly, even if they do make the safe decisions, the choice can be taken away from them thanks to the date rape drug. There are several different varieties but most have no smell, color or taste so someone has no idea they’ve been slipped one. Remind your teen to never put their soda or drink down and walk away to dance. Keep it with them at all times!
Keep in touch – Needless to say be sure they have a cell phone so that they can you at any time. Have them take a power cord as well so they can’t use the excuse that their cell phone died and they couldn’t call you.
Alison Rhodes is the founder of Safety Mom Enterprises and Safety Mom Solutions, the premier baby proofing and child safety company in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area. Alison is a family safety expert, TV personality and consultant.