Prom Safety Guide – For Parents
By: Mica Moeller
A rite of passage, a ceremonial occasion, a nerve-wracking night for teenagers that’s filled with dresses, dancing, decorations and drama. You know what I’m talking about – prom!
It might be a distant memory to you and some aspects of prom have changed throughout the years but honestly it’s basically the same now as it was then. Now it’s your turn to have the talk to your children about prom. The talk that has made parents and their kids wince about for generations. Luckily for you, I am here to break down the steps on when and what to talk about to make this night run a little more smoothly and save you both some headache.
Weeks leading up to prom:
So much planning goes on during the weeks leading up to prom night. Finding the perfect dress or tuxedo, making reservations, and booking that limo might all be on your to-do list. Well I have a couple more topics to add in.
- Educate yourself – Know the latest youth drug trends in your area. Be aware of the signs of youth under the influence and find other parents in your area to talk to about these issues and to lean on for support.
- Medical emergencies – Teach your child about alcohol poisoning, drug overdose, and teen dating violence. Let them know they should never ignore a medical emergency and always call for help if they see signs of one.
- Safety concerns – Signs of someone under the influence of a substance, never ride in a car with someone who you think is impaired, never engage in sexual relations with somebody who might be under the influence, and protecting yourself from sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.
- Pressures – Just like when you were a student, the pressures of 2019 are very similar. Let them know that not everyone is actually participating in substance use and sexual intercourse. Only 4 out of 10 teens have sexual intercourse before the age of 18 (CDC, 2016). Only 2 out of 10 Iowa teens in 11th grade have had a drink of alcohol in the past 30 days (Iowa Youth Survey, 2018). 1 out 10 Iowa teens in 11th grade have used marijuana in the past 30 days (Iowa Youth Survey, 2018).
One week out:
The anticipation is building. It’s the week of prom! All last minute plans and preparation is being done. Now is the time to have the meaningful conversations with your child.
- How you feel – Tell them how much you love them, accept them, and how you’re always there for them. Let them know that you are always one call or text away. They can always contact you if they need something – no questions asked.
- How they feel – Ask them if they have any concerns about health, safety, or pressures for the night.
- Share your thoughts and experiences with them. Give them advice on how to handle situations.
- Discuss final plans and expectations that you have for them. What time they need to be home, when to update you throughout the night, and how they are doing are some examples of expectations.
Night of prom
Tonight is the night. All of the anticipation comes to a peak and here you are letting your child go off for the night. You’re hoping they have fun and stay safe. It’s the last chance you’ll get to have a quick chat before they leave.
- Tell them how great they look and how lucky you are to have them! You care for them immensely and hope they have a great time tonight!
- Discuss how they can be responsible tonight while still enjoying themselves.
- Ask if they have any last minute questions or concerns tonight.
- Remind them you are here for them at anytime and not to hesitate if they need help. Also remind them of your expectations that night.
The night is over and life is settling back in. There a few things left to talk about before the next event comes up.
- Listen about the night’s events.
- Ask if there were any situations that they wish would have gone different.
- Remind them how proud you are of them and how much you love them.