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With prom season here, many teens are buzzing with excitement. For parents, this time can be a great milestone, but it can also be extremely stressful.
You want your teen to be safe, and sometimes there’s the misconception on the part of teens that it’s okay to do things on prom night that they wouldn’t otherwise do. It’s up to you to set boundaries and make it clear that’s not the case.
The following are some things to help you, as a parent, as your teen is getting ready to head to prom.
Tips To Ensure A Safe Prom For Your Teens
Don’t Try To Be the “Fun” Parent
One of the biggest things you have to realize is that it can be dangerous and illegal for you to try and be a fun parent.
For example, if you were to host a prom after-party at your home, and there were teens drinking underage while on your property, you could be held legally responsible. If you serve alcohol to minors, you could face not only criminal but also financial penalties.
If you serve alcohol to a minor or allow them to consume it at their home and they then get behind the wheel, depending on what happens, you may face even more serious legal penalties. Parents often don’t understand that they are legally responsible in these situations.
Parents who provide alcohol or knowingly let underage people drink might face civil lawsuits as well as criminal charges.
Even if you were to let teens gather at your home and they were drinking without you knowing it, that might not be a defense in the eyes of the law.
If you volunteer to chaperone any event with teens, you need to carefully supervise and not assume that they’re going to do the right thing.
Too often, parents want to be seen as cool or fun, and it ultimately costs them in a big way. And this is not gonna help your teens to have a safe prom.
Be In Communication With Other Parents
Most teens will go to the prom with a date or a friend, and usually, they go with a big group of friends.
So, another key thing to ensure a safe prom is to try to open lines of communication with those teens’ parents, if at all possible.
You all want to be on the same page with what your teens are planning and what you feel is appropriate.
If you don’t feel comfortable calling the other parents, you can always send out a group text or set up a group chat on social media so that you can talk to one another.
You may find out that your teen isn’t telling you the same plans for prom night as one of their friends has told their parents.
When you talk to other parents, you can figure out who’s going to be chaperoning what events, you can discuss logistics like transportation, and you may even be able to come to a mutual curfew for everyone in the group.
Avoid Having Your Teen Drive
One of the biggest risks for teen drivers, in general, is being in a roadway accident. Teens haven’t experienced drivers and that’s coupled with the reality that they also tend to be more distracted.
If your teen is driving to prom and has a car full of people, this can be very risky.
You should try and help your teen arrange some other type of transportation that also doesn’t involve one of their friends driving.
This could mean that you hire a limo, you agree to drive your teen and their friends, another parent drives, or you come up with a similar solution like using a rideshare app.
Know The Plan
Your teen needs to have a plan for prom, and they shouldn’t tell you they don’t know. To ensure that they have a safe prom, talk to them and know their plan.
You should have a detailed itinerary from them before the night begins. You should also establish ground rules, curfews, and check-in times as part of that.
Don’t Let Your Teen Stay Out All Night
This is one of the biggest mistakes parents make when we are talking about a safe prom—they agree to let their teen stay out all night. Their teen might say they’re spending the night with friends, or they’re going to rent a hotel room or a house.
Do not let your teen stay out all night. This significantly increases the risk of substance use, car accidents, and more.
Your teen should come home at a reasonable hour on prom night.
If nothing else, maybe you let your teen have friends spend the night at your house, but again, you should be able to supervise them.
Have Someone Your Teen Can Call If They’re In a Difficult Situation
Sometimes teens may not want to drink or do dangerous things, but they feel like they’re going to let their friends down if they don’t participate. A teen may want to come home and might not have a sober driver too.
Your teen might not want to call you, so you might designate someone else they can call if they need to, like a trusted family friend or a family member. This is a good option and can help your teens to have a safe prom.
If your teen does make a mistake, they should feel like they can call you or the designated person without fear of getting in trouble. Even though your teen might have broken your trust, it’s better for them to call you before the situation gets worse.
Be Clear With Your Expectations
Don’t assume that your teen knows what you expect of them on prom night. It’s important as a parent to sit down and have an honest discussion about what you think is acceptable behavior and what isn’t.
Be specific because sometimes teens may think it’s okay to bend the rules because it’s a special event, and that’s not the case.
You need to have guidelines in place and let your teen know that there is zero room for going outside those.
The stakes are high on prom night. There are a lot of risks, although it can also be one of your teen’s best memories. Work together on safety and ensure it’s an enjoyable experience.