The months of May and June are very demanding for the parents of teenagers in their prom year. It’s also very demanding for parents to explain that this will be a memorable night, for good and bad reasons. Of course, you must remind your teen about the financial aspects of prom including clothes, flowers, the limousine, the ring and everything else but if you have just purchased a new car or a barbecue, it will not make their expenses look very steep. Still, you will spend $650 on average for that evening. The only thing you can’t buy is… your teen's safety.
The trend of having a “pre” and “post” prom is not about to go away. The temptation of overdoing it is not going anywhere either. But overdoing what? That remains to be defined. By wanting to make that evening perfect, we tend to forget to set limits but we must do so and we must do it a few days prior, not one minute before shutting the limousine door.
16 or 17 years old, such is the normal age of a teen who will celebrate the end of their school years. How can we remain in control with these young adults? Because that’s what they are: young adults! Just before their 18th birthday, how can parents prevent the shame and guilt that could ensue?
Nowadays, prom nights are the perfect excuse to drink too much, to discover their sexuality in the worst ways and to show off in a way that will stick with them for years.
One of my uncles had a child with a woman he barely knew because of his prom night. Let’s just say that he had to change his plans a little. Don’t be the victim of your lack of experience.
Ask your child to make plans in order to achieve this evening in the right way. They are old enough to understand the perils of life. If they write their own plan, they will be more inclined to follow it. But of course you must set your limits. Sharing their plan with friends is also important.
Here’s what a prom achievement plan should look like:
- Choosing a designated driver or asking someone to drive you.
- This is not the time to try new things (drugs, cigarettes…)
- Never force anyone to use drugs or do something that he or she could regret.
- When eating, remember your manners and express yourself in a positive and polite manner.
- On the dance floor, be polite and dance respectably.
- If a friend suddenly changes attitude, advise someone responsible.
- Respect the organizers of the evening.
- It is NOT a good time for a first sexual encounter.
- Leave with the same person with whom you arrived.
- Keep a cell phone at hand and call your parents and friends if any problem occurs.
Don’t hesitate to add your own rules and please let your teen realize the dangers that he or she may face.
To have fun, wherever you go, here are the basic rules to follow.
Arriving and leaving
- Punctuality: be on time for the event and respect your curfew
- Discipline: keep your word with your parents
- Safety: you leave with someone and come back with the same person
In the evening
- Visibility: keep an eye on your friends
- Accessibility: always be with someone you trust when moving from one place to another
- Availability: if a problem occurs, be ready to intervene (cell phone)
You want to be treated like an adult? Act like one and be true to your word. Make sure that your partner or your friends know where you’re going or are informed if you must leave early. Always keep cash on you to take a taxi, in case you have to leave abruptly.
- Be reasonable: it’s not your last night out
- Be responsible: if you want to be trusted again
- Be kind: when heading back home, be nice to your parents
Finally, avoid deciding anything on the spot because safety cannot be improvised.