Although you’re probably concerned about it, your teenager can have a safe and trouble-free prom night and still have a great time. A little guidance and an agreement on some basic prom rules can help make this special evening memorable and safe. Planning ahead makes a difference; don’t wait till the last minute to begin discussing the upcoming event.
Are you concerned about the Big Three: alcohol, drugs and sex? You may be assured of your teen’s sensibilities, but how about the other kids? This is where advance planning can help. Learn all you can about what’s coming up and begin talking to other parents whose kids are attending the prom. School officials should also prove to be helpful. They go through this every year.
Your Attitude Can Set the Right Tone for Trust and Agreement
Begin discussing the prom way before the actual date; use the lead-up time to build some additional trust with your teen. Attitude is everything. If you take the dictatorial approach, it could be tough to establish an agreed-upon safety contract with your eager prom-goer. Show interest and share in his or her excitement. Remember that kids at this age may be feeling the strain of peer-group pressure. A sincere display of empathy can help your teen accept you as an ally instead of a killjoy. It’s not unusual for adolescents to test their independence as they seek to gain status within their circle of friends. Be a good listener and you’ll gain from it. When teens open up to their parents, the information shared can help take some of the worry out of an upcoming big event.
Make yourself available and be alert to when your teen is feeling talkative. When you get a good idea of the prom’s agenda and logistics, you’ll be better prepared to set up some basic prom rules to help ensure everything goes smoothly. Here are eight rules that you should include.
1. Commit to a Reasonable Return Time
Being aware of the full and planned agenda for prom night enables you to determine what a reasonable return-home time is. Knowing all the transportation details will help you come up with a good idea of what should be considered realistic.
2. All Mobile Channels of Communication Remain In Place
Specify some check-in times and be certain that your prom-goer can reach you by texting or phoning. Let it be known that if a check-in time is missed by a certain number of minutes, it will be you making the call.
3. Prom Night Is a Milestone Celebration, Not an Opportunity for Sex
Although sex is a topic that’s important enough for a dedicated and detailed discussion, prom night is no time for either initiation or exploration. Get to know your teen’s date or event companions; you could learn about who they feel attracted to and why.
4. Intoxicants and Transportation Don’t Mix
If your teen is driving, then the topic and the rule revolve around the serious consequences of DUI or vehicle accidents — this is one of the non-negotiables. As passengers, however, teens need to understand the importance of being sure that the driver they’re riding with has kept away from any intoxicants. If they suspect otherwise, they need to call home for a ride.
5. Drugs and Alcohol: Obey the Law
No wiggle-room here. The rule comes from a higher authority. Underage drinking and drug use are against the law. Period.
6. Communicate Any Change in the Night’s Agenda or Locations
Any change of plans during the evening needs to be communicated back home. Has a different post-prom all-night diner been decided upon during the course of the evening? Fine; phone home and communicate the change.
7. Activate the Home-Based Emergency Plan If Needed
Your teen shouldn’t be shy about calling home for an assist if needed. An unforeseen circumstance that could spell trouble should be responded to with a call home for a pick-up.
8. Be Mindful of Selfies
Impress upon your prom-goer that it’s wise to not get caught in somebody’s selfie that could later prove embarrassing or affect a career. Digital images have a way of travelling throughout the Internet in unplanned ways.
Learn How To Be an Involved and Empathetic Parent
Parenting can be an art and a science, but you needn’t develop your skills on a learn-as-you-go basis. Stay involved, remain empathetic and take advantage of the wealth of parenting material authored by knowledgeable sociologists and child psychologists. A little advice from the experts can go a long way.