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What can I do to make sure my child has a safe prom night?

Michele Borba
Psychology
Here are things to consider for prom night (depending upon your teen and situation).

1. Reach out to the school or parents for prom night details. Talk to other parents about post-event activities to ensure alcohol won’t be present. Identify alcohol-free activities and safe driving policies. Go to the school (usually there are parent meeting about the event) and listen so you know the plans. You can also discuss those with your teen so he knows you’re in the loop.

2. Get on board with other like-minded parents. Talk to parents of your teen’s friends or his or her date. Set clear curfews that ideally match each others. It’s a lot easier to say to a teen: “We all feel …” Many parents meet prior to a prom and grad night to agree on rules and the “plan.” Many parents also join together to have dinner parties in their own homes (the junior class can be the waiters) and after-prom parties that are safe and alcohol free.

3. Set boundaries and clear rules. “No drinking, coed sleepovers. Be where you say you will be -- no leaving the prom.” Set a curfew and clear consequences about breaking those rules. You also may want to review rules on photo taking -- “Only pictures from a professional photographer” should be permitted. You don’t want inappropriate photos of teens plastered on their Facebook pages and seen by the rest of the world the following day (and every other day of their lives).

4. Say no to hotel room rental. You know teens will not be ordering tea and crumpets with these hotel room rentals. Say no! If you do agree, remember you are liable for the safety of those kids as well as the hotel property (which is usually on your credit card).

5. Don’t underrate your influence. Parents are the primary influence on their teens so you must talk about your expectations and your concerns. Research finds that parents who talk about the dangers of drinking with teens have teens who did much less drinking (compared with students who didn’t have that “talk” with their parents). You should be talking about alcohol many times anyway. These big nights are just more opportunities.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.