How can I talk to my teenager about staying safe at prom and graduation?

Michele Borba
Keep an open communication with your teen during these next few weeks. These are the same talks your graduating senior will need when he goes off into the real world so see these weeks as opportunities to review your rules, party precaution tips, and those old standards covering drinking, sex, driving, and peer pressure.

Just please don’t wait for prom night to have “the big talk” -- you know they won’t be tuning in.

And do halt the lectures -- which are guaranteed turnoffs. Instead, try to find relaxed times for your discussions. Think “little chats” -- not one big marathon.

Remember -- peer pressure is huge -- (especially with drinking and sex) and much more then parents recognize. A Boys and Girls Club Survey of over 46,000 teens put peer pressure as one of their biggest challenges and concerns. There is also a big disconnect of how often parents think their teens drink.

A University of Michigan study found that about 70 percent of teens drink during high school year. About half of junior high and senior high school students drink alcohol on a monthly basis.

Teens are pressured to drink anyway, but prom night seems to just put the pressure to boiling point. Mix alcohol with a teen’s immature brain and you have a bad combo. Their inhibitions go down and peer pressure goes up. And teens who do drink are more likely to engage in sexual activity and have unprotected sex. So let’s have those talks.

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