Spring is here, and teenagers across California and indeed the entire country are looking forward to prom. But the yearly ritual also comes with a slew of hazards that should be avoided at all costs. Many teens will be tempted to engage in alcohol consumption and other potentially dangerous behaviors, and if you’re a parent, there are certain steps you can take to protect your child. Although the tips hail from the Huntsville, Alabama Police Department, they would be just as applicable anywhere in the country.
The first step you should take is to speak to your teens about their night and lay out some ground rules. Figure out the time that dinner, prom, and after-prom activities are going to begin. Tell them what time you expect them to be home, and explain that you want to meet their date prior to the start of the night. If you don’t know the people that will be in the group, at least make sure you get a list of their names.
Make sure your teen knows they can call you at any time, and set them up with a cellphone that has an adequate charge to last through the night. You might think about setting up a time or a couple of times in which your teen is supposed to call you. Should plans for the night change, i.e. dinner goes late or the location of an after-prom party is altered, have your kid tell you about it so that you’re kept abreast of the situation.
And about that after-prom party: you’re a parent, and if your teen is going to a friend’s or classmate’s home as opposed to a school-sanctioned event, you’re well within your rights to call the parent of the party-throwing teen to find out more about the event. Make sure that adults will be present to supervise, and don’t let your teen attend if there’s going to be alcohol present. Many parents might not realize they could be held liable if they supply the alcohol that ends up leading to a tragedy, and it’s best not to even risk putting your teen in that situation. An adult present is no excuse for a minor to be able to indulge in alcohol consumption.
Drugs and alcohol will probably be your biggest worry on this night. Make sure you speak with your teen about the danger. The vehicle your teen rides in will need to be filled with gas and properly maintained, but perhaps the most important safety factor will be the person behind the wheel. Remind your son or daughter about the illegality and risks of drinking and driving, and advise them to use caution on the road. That includes refraining from texting and other distractions while driving. Even if your teen has been safety-conscious, they might be on the road with others who weren’t.