For parents everywhere, prom night is a time of excitement and pride…followed by cold, unadulterated dread. We’ve all heard the statistics. Teenagers sneak flasks into the gym and get DUIs on their way home, or worse, get into car accidents. Poor lighting and foggy dance venues may create vulnerable situations and opportunities for assaults. As parents, we shudder to think of the terrible possibilities.

While prom night may be the night your son or daughter has anticipated for months, it’s important to impart on them the importance of having fun safely.

Prom night tips for your teen:

  • Keep an eye on your date or driver the entire night to make sure they do not partake in any alcohol. If you’re doing the driving, don’t drink. Driving after even one drink can alter your reaction time and impair your senses.
  • Carry a cell phone at all times. During the drive to prom as well as at prom, itself, make sure to keep a cell phone on you in case of an emergency.
  • Seek the help of a chaperone if you’re in an uncomfortable situation. Don’t feel embarrassed if you want to inform someone of illegal drinking or other problems. Ask the chaperone to keep the information anonymous, and remember you could be saving lives.

Tips for you as a parent:

  • Know the location of the prom, and have the number saved. Find out who the chaperones are and give them your contact info.
  • Arrange transportation for your kids and their dates. Know who is going to be driving, which vehicle they are taking, and who the other passengers will be.
  • Give your teen a curfew. Agree on a time beforehand, and let them know you’ll be contacting the event hosts if they aren’t home on time.
  • Be awake when your teen gets home. It lets them know you care about their wellbeing, and gives them a chance to tell you about their night.
  • Be receptive to what your teen tells you. While this doesn’t mean patting them on the back if they’ve been drinking, it does mean not flying off the handle. If your child trusts you enough to tell you they’ve done something wrong, thank them for it. This will promote mutual honesty in the future. A healthy relationship with your teen increases the likelihood that they’ll abide by your rules.

By covering all your bases and taking some easy preventative measures, your child will have fun and you will have the peace of mind that they will stay safe this prom season.