Many teens anticipate prom night with joy, yet the event puts overt and subtle pressures on teenagers that can jeopardize their safety. Many prom activities are unchaperoned, for instance, and teens as a result can be tempted to make choices they will later regret. As a parent, you need to know what not to do as well as what to do to protect your children. Here are some safety tips that don’t work well, along with positive advice about to keep your teen safe.
- Asking who will be doing the driving. Good start, but this tactic may not go far enough. Your teen may lie or evade, or he or she may fail to give it enough thought until too late. Consider splurging on a limo to ensure the driver has not been drinking. (Or just teach your child how to download the Uber app!)
- Waiting until the night of the prom to talk to teens about the dangers of alcohol and drug use. This won’t be an effective strategy – it’s too little, too late. Once children reach the age when they encounter these substances, the discussions should begin. Revisit the subject periodically, and always emphasize that your main concern lies with their safety. You’re not trying to control or dominate.
- Relying solely on admonitions and threats of punishment to get the teen to abstain from drugs and alcohol. You want “buy in” from your child, so it’s much better if your teen wants to behave safely. In addition, do your due diligence. Ask the limo driver to refrain from making stops on the way to the prom. Power to the Parent.org recommends that parents also check the limo, including the trunk, for drugs or alcohol.
- Hesitating to ask questions about prom night plans for fear of offending your teen. Don’t be a shrinking violet. Ask for the address and phone number of the prom party’s site. If the plans include a celebration in a private home, talk to the homeowner beforehand to be sure the event will have adult supervision.
- Warning against inappropriate sexual behavior. Again, chastising your teen isn’t a recipe for success and getting the outcome you want. To discourage poor choices, be empathetic, and ask good questions without being judgmental. If your teen is receptive, maybe spend time going over contingencies, asking your teen how he or she would respond in a given situation, so you can spot red flags.
As you know, teenage misbehavior during prom – particularly drinking and drug use – can result in disaster. This news article reports on a Maryland effort to address the issue: Maryland Enacts New Law to Assist Efforts to Curb Underage Drinking.
Did someone get hurt during prom? Our Washington D.C. personal injury attorneys offer free consultations. Call or email us today to explore your options.