Prom Night Tips for Parents
by Jennifer Jordan
Ah, the prom, the one time of year when rules, curfews, and the occasional rabid corsage all fly out the window. Labeled as one of the best times in a young person’s life, proms are fun, exciting, and unforgettable. For the parents, however, these three adjectives are often replaced by frustrating, worrisome, and unsettling. Even for a mom and a dad who aren’t typical worry warts, prom night can bring all kinds of uncertainties about safety.
It, however, doesn’t have to be this way: parents don’t have to sit silently rocking in a corner while their kids cut a rug on the dance floor. Simply communicating with your children, and setting some ground rules, can help ease worries and ensure safety, long before the last dance is done.
Ask Questions: Chances are, your child is going to prom with a group of friends; teenagers, after all, travel in gaggles. Instead of simply letting them go, find out exactly who they are going with and get all the names and numbers of everyone’s parents. It’s also essential to find out who is driving and to talk to kids about the dangers of drinking while behind the wheel. If you suspect your child or your child’s ride will be drinking (come on, you know it happens) slip them some money for a taxi or a limo. It’s better for them to be drunk and riding rather than drunk and driving.
Have Them Update You: In today’s technological world, parents have the advantage of getting in contact with their kids whenever they want: everyone, it seems, has a cell phone, a blackberry, a laptop computer connected to their hip. If your child is going to be out until dawn the next morning (many proms have an after prom that go until five or six a.m.) have them call you at intervals. Perhaps you want them to call you every two or three hours or at a specific time, such as one a.m. Keeping in periodic contact with your kids helps you know where they are, what they’re doing, and who they’re with.
Give them a Get Out of Jail Free Card: Sure, it can happen any night, but prom night seems to invite more trouble than the typical run of the mill weekend. For this reason, giving your kids a get out of jail free card is a great way to assure they will come to you if they find themselves in a pickle. Let them know that if they need a ride, get in trouble with the law, or find themselves in a situation that simply feels dangerous, that they can call you. Express to them that no matter how late it is, or no matter how drunk they are, this one time they won’t get in trouble.