Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and partner
From promposals to prom themes to after-prom parties, the hype to create the perfect prom memory continues to grow. Unfortunately, proms also lead teens who are normally very mature and level-headed to participate in risky behavior. All too often, the excitement of prom night ends abruptly with a tragic event and new prom statistics.
The Talk, The Connection, The Offer includes a set of dramatic statistics about prom-related concerns and some reasonable advice to prepare for prom pressures. “It’s become the night where teens’ poor judgment and dangerous choices have become institutionalized. For far too many years, prom night has been synonymous with teen alcohol-related car fatalities and serious injuries, sexual assaults, date rapes and crime. Add to that sobering list the irresponsible parents who host after-prom parties where under-age kids are served alcohol.”
- “Teen traffic deaths during prom season weekend are higher than at any other time of the year.
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, for the past several years during prom weekend, approximately 300 teens have died in alcohol-related car accidents.
- Also according to the NHTSA, one in three children under age 21 who died in alcohol-related accidents died during prom and graduation season.
- An American Medical Association study reported that 10% of parents believed it was appropriate and safe for underage teens to attend both prom and graduation parties where alcohol is served, if a parent is present.
- Most date rapes and sexual assaults against girls are alcohol and drug-related.
- 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.”
As frightening as the statistics listed above may seem, there are sensible guidelines that can help both parents and their teens create a memory to be cherished.
“The Talk — Begin your pre-prom talk with your children by emphasizing that you want them to have a wonderful, memorable prom. Keep that wish as a central focus throughout your discussion. They need to give you their complete itinerary for the evening, including whom they will be with, where they’ll be going before and after the prom and the phone numbers where you can contact them. “We’ll just be driving around,” is not an acceptable response.
The Ride — Regardless of how many times you have talked about the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, emphasize that these dangers are particularly high on prom night. Your children cannot drink or take drugs and drive. If they’re not driving themselves, you must know who’ll be driving them. They must be driven by someone who has not and will not drink alcohol or take drugs. You need their promise on these rules. These rules are non-negotiable.
The Connection — If your children are not returning home right after the prom, you need to be able to contact them at all times until they return home. You also need to be reachable at all times as well. There can be no doubt where your kids will be and with whom throughout the evening and morning. Post-prom, parent-child check-in calls make sense. Establish a few mandatory call-in times with your kids. Make sure they leave with a fully charged cell phone, thereby establishing a guaranteed connection.
The Offer – Give your children the unconditional option of calling you at any time for help or advice. That includes and offer to pick them up at any time of day or night, with a promise not to shame or humiliate them in front of others, nor to condemn or shame them once you get them in the car or back home.”
For a number of years, we have posted articles about how to keep teens safe on prom night. It’s an important issue that cannot be taken lightly. Please be safe and enjoy your prom celebration.
About the author:
Mr. Zambri is a board-certified civil trial attorney by the National Board of Trial Advocates and a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. The association recently named him "Trial Lawyer of the Year". Super Lawyers recently named him among the "Top Ten" lawyers in the Metro Area (out of more than 80,000 attorneys). He has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 100″ lawyers in the entire metropolitan area. The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best-most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including automobile accident claims, premises liability, product liability, medical malpractice, and work-accident claims. He has successfully litigated multiple cases against truck and bus companies, the Washington Metropolitan Area transit Authority, and other automobile owners. His law firm, in fact, has obtained the largest settlement ever in a personal injury case involving WMATA. Mr. Zambri has also been acknowledged as one of "The Best Lawyers in America" by Best Lawyers (2014 edition) and has been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (2014) - national publications that honor the top lawyers in America.
If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 202-822-1899.