A season of choices -
As prom and graduation quickly approach us, we would like to remind those attending to enjoy them safely. These events typically mean an end of a chapter in our teens lives and that can come with many different emotions or stressors. Many teens may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with these feelings. As your child gets ready to prepare for prom or graduation it's important to have conversations with them on how they might be feeling and how they are dealing with these big life changes.
Here are few tips for parents to ensure their teens have a safe and enjoyable prom and graduation season:
Set up a plan and curfews. In 2019 about 40% of car crashes involving teens ages 13-19 occurred between 9 pm and 6 am. Set a reasonable time frame that you are also able to stay up for. Know who your child is with, time frames of different events, and what the activities are. If plans change, confirm the changes with other parents. Ideally, you would also want to know who may be chaperoning the events.
Do not rent a hotel room. Chances are an adult won't be present in these circumstances, which makes it more likely for alcohol or other substances to be involved. If for whatever reason a room is rented, ensure that an adult be present.
Clearly communicate your expectations. Setting clear expectations for your teens prior to the event allows everyone to be on the same page. Talk to your child about different scenarios that could possibly take place if they are drinking and driving or get in a vehicle of someone who is.
Keep the party local. Should you have to go pick your child up for whatever reason, you would want to get to them as quickly as possible.
Talk with your teen. Discuss the dangers of drinking and driving, or the dangers of distracted driving in general. The risk of crashing increases with each additional peer they may have in the vehicle. Ask them how they are feeling about everything. Are they excited? Are they nervous or have any concerns of their own? What are they most looking forward to? This will help your teens know that you are just trying to help them have a fun time while keeping them safe.