Prom is just around the corner! A time when teens start thinking about dinner reservations, what they are going to wear, corsages and boutonnières. As parents of those teens, we often think about how prom is associated with peer pressure to drink alcohol, do drugs, drive dangerously, and have sex. It’s time for parents to talk to him or her about prom and their safety.
Parents can engage in effective prom safety conversations with their teens by following these tips:
1. Initiate the conversation: A conversation about prom safety is an important. Let your teens know that prom should be fun, but you also know that there is a lot of peer pressure to lose your virginity, or drink, or do drugs, or stay up all night. Let them know that you want them to have fun, but you want them to be safe. You should also talk to them well ahead of prom, not the day of the event. And, with a small reminder the day of prom.
2. Make a safety plan: Parents and teens should talk about different scenarios and what they should do about them. These could include: someone brings alcohol to the dance, or a friend driving dangerously, maybe drinking or texting while driving. If your teen is prepared for these scenarios, they will be better able to handle them. Let your teen know that they should call you if they feel unsafe in any way. You could even have a “safe code” to alert you of an unsafe situation. Make sure that you set a clear curfew and even suggest calling in with you at home to check in.
3. Watch the tone: Discuss WITH them, limit talking AT them. Acknowledge the good choices they make, but that you want to talk about them anyway. Set firm and clear guidelines. Tell them that you have positive expectations for them.
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