Your teen may view prom night as one of the most important nights of his
or her life. So, it only makes sense that the idea of prom night or grad
night may make you, as a parent, feel a little stressed. Here are some
tips for parents to help you prepare for prom season:
Talk with your teen.
Ask: How are you feeling about the prom/grad night? What are you most excited
about? What are you most nervous about? Do you know his/her date and/or
group of friends? Does your teen know these kids well? If you don’t
know the parents of your teen’s date and prom group, be sure to
get to know them before the big event.
While not always easy topics, it is important to talk to your teen about
sex, drinking, and drugs, as prom night or grad night may lead to some
unsafe situations related to all three. Parents could start by noting
the excitement of the event and how they want their kids to have fun.
Then, parents can transition with something such as: ”Prom/grad
night is also a time when there's a lot of peer pressure to do things,
like lose your virginity, or drink… I want you to have a great
time, I want you to have fun, and I want you to be safe.” Try to
avoid squeezing this conversation into a busy prom-day/graduation-day
schedule. Parents and teens should discuss prom/grad night safety a few
days in advance, with possibly a small reminder on the day of the event.
Watch your tone: Make sure you are not talking down to your teen. Parents should try to
avoid “lecturing” or “scaring” teens. One way
to do that is to begin conversations with something like, “I know
you know these things already, but I think it's a good idea to review
Clearly communicate your expectations: Talk to your child about the dangers of drinking and driving and getting
in the car with a drunk driver. Consider role-playing a few scenarios.
Research shows that parents who discuss possible scenarios and seek their
teen’s knowledge about what to do increases the chances of their
teen making safe decisions.
Set curfews: Teen car crashes and deaths increase exponentially late at night. If you
decide to extend curfews, do not allow large blocks of time that are unaccounted
for. Know where your teen is, how long he/she will be there, when he/she
will be leaving, who is there, and who is supervising the event.
Be up when they come home: Your teen’s behavior and choices may be affected if they know they’ll
have to talk to you at the end of the night. Keep the party local: Allowing
your teen to take off to a remote spot, like a beach or cabin, with no
supervision creates unnecessary risk.