Prom 2018. For the girls, it’s about choosing the right dress, hair, makeup, shoes, and accessories. For the boys … it’s all about the proposal. Unfortunately, for teens overall, it remains one of the most peer-pressure-filled nights of their young lives. As parents, it’s up to you to make sure your teen is aware of and prepared for how to handle, the dangers they could be faced with on prom night. For example, would your teen know what to do if they were at a party and came across a classmate having sex with a young woman who is passed out? What about getting in the car with their date (or best friend) who has been drinking? Here are five tips to make sure it’s a safe, fun, and regret-free prom night.
Know Who’s Behind the Wheel
A recent SADD study found, 90 percent of teenagers reported their friends said they would drink and drive on prom night. Approximately, one-third of all alcohol-related traffic fatalities involving high school students happen between April and June — the peak prom months.
- Talk with your teen about who is going to drive. Make sure you are comfortable with who is driving and everywhere they will be going. And make sure they tell you if these plans change.
- Discuss everything from driving safety to seat belts to, most importantly, NEVER get into a car with anyone who has been drinking – even one drink – or getting high, which includes prescription drugs, marijuana and more.
- As a backup, download a ride-share app on your teen’s phone, so it’s ready to use if they need it.
Get Everyone on the Same Page
According to a recent survey, nearly all parents (96%) said it’s unacceptable for their child to drink while attending a prom. But only about half of all parents actually sat down and talked to their kids about the risks of drinking.
- Talk with other parents to make sure everyone is on the same page about no underage drinking / making sure all prom-related festivities are alcohol-free.
- Keep the parent and teen lines-of-communication open, so everyone knows expectations and consequences. And encourage your teens to keep you updated about any “changing plans.”
- Reports show teens feel they can access alcohol more readily as they approach their senior year. Don’t become their source of alcohol. Know how much alcohol you have in the house and where you keep it.
Talk about what to do in Uncomfortable Situations
More than 85% of teens said they or their peers are likely to drive impaired instead of calling their parents for help because they are afraid of getting in trouble. Just 21% of teens have called their parents to pick them up because they were, or their driver was, impaired.
- Make sure your teen’s cell phone is fully charged when they leave home. Also, make sure you have the phone number of your teen’s date, his / her parents’ contact information, and phone numbers for any parents where after-prom parties are to take place.
- Make sure your teen knows he/she can call or text you for ANYTHING at ANY time – no questions asked.
- Consider coming up with a code word/emoji, so no one else knows they need help. But if you think your teen might still be worried about getting in trouble if they call you, designate a trusted family friend whom they can call instead.
- Talk to your teen about what it means to be a good friend and the importance of looking out for each other. Yes, it can be embarrassing, but emphasize how crucial it is for them to call for help if they see someone who’s in trouble.
- Give them the ultimate prom accessory – Ripple Safety, which will give you both peace-of-mind knowing the exact help your teen might need is one click (or 3 clicks) away.
Make Prom Night Memorable… for Good Reasons
Thirty-one percent of college admissions officers said they visited an applicant’s social networking page to learn more about them, and 30 percent admitted they saw something negative that impacted the student’s application.
- Pictures and videos from prom night will inevitably end up on social media. Warn your teen to be careful not to be captured on film drinking alcohol or doing anything else they might regret.
- Talk to your teen about refraining from uploading questionable/embarrassing photos or videos. Depending on what is uploaded, your teen might be in as much trouble as the person in the video.
- Encourage your teen to only drink from bottles or cans they opened themselves or saw being opened. Remind them never to leave a drink unattended, but if they forget, throw it away. Also, point out the dangers of drinking beverages from a dispenser or punch bowl as they could be spiked with alcohol or drugs.
- Make sure your teen is aware that their poor decisions on prom night could mean not graduating from high school on time. Also, colleges can revoke scholarships or an acceptance letter for illegal behavior or for getting expelled from high school.
Reinforce ‘No’ Really Does Mean ‘No’ and What that Means
A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services national survey reported 39% of high school senior boys considered it acceptable to force sex on a girl who is intoxicated by alcohol or high on drugs.
Have ongoing, candid and open conversations with your teen (this applies to both boys and girls) about sex, what it means to say no, and how important it is to be respectful.
Remind them, when it comes to consent, anything other than yes, means no.
Although it should be obvious, make sure your teen knows anyone who is drunk, high or otherwise impaired should not be touched in any manner – that includes kissing, hugging, cuddling, harassing, or having sex.
Reinforce to your teen (son or daughter) that anyone can change their mind at any time. And, it is wrong to put pressure on their date or let their date pressure them to feel bad/guilty for not going all the way on prom night.