Prom is a night that many teens view as one of the most memorable experiences of their high school years. It can be a beautiful and fun night spent with friends and classmates, or it can be a night they would much rather forget. But with a little bit of forethought and some simple planning, you can make sure they have a wonderful time and you won’t have to worry about them anymore than usual.
Proper planning and communication before prom night is key to making sure you know what is going to happen that night. Before the night begins, work with your child to make sure you know the itinerary for the evening. Where your child will be, at what time, and with whom should be established information before the evening begins; as well as a communication process in the case something changes as the night progresses, because it will. This communication process is very important, so make sure your child has his/her cell phone charged before they leave. Let them know that if they are uncomfortable in a situation, they can always call and you will be there to get them at any time.
One thing to remind our kids is that the risks of drinking and using drugs do not go away on prom night. Many teens view prom as their opportunity to let loose and experience new things or to indulge more than they normally would. That type of thinking very easily transfers to peers who then feel pressure to join. By talking with your children before the night begins, you can help them remember that it is still dangerous and can lead to trouble for them and their friends. Being in a situation where drugs and alcohol are prevalent can very quickly lead to trouble with the police, driving accidents or deaths, physical violence, or sexual assault. The best way to avoid these pitfalls is to avoid situations where drugs and alcohol are present. But if they do find themselves in a situation where they are uncomfortable, the predetermined communication process can be very helpful
Prom is a night that can offer your child cherished memories for the rest of their life. It is also a night that too many take for granted, doing things they normally wouldn’t do and letting situations get out of control too fast. As you work together to plan for the big night, be sure to communicate with your child and establish what is going on and where they will be. Work with them to have a plan in case they are in a situation they feel they need to leave. When you work together and plan ahead, prom night will be one that they can look back on for many years to come.
By: Cody Crawford, ASAC Certified Prevention Specialist