|Parents should talk with students about prom plans|
|Wednesday, April 09, 2014 8:04 PM|
You’re going to remember your prom for the rest of your life. It can be a time of laughter, dancing, fun and celebration.
But it can also be a dangerous time. Automobile crashes are the leading cause of death among teens and according to National Highway and Transport Safety Administration figures, approximately 33 percent of traffic deaths of 15- to 20-year-olds are alcohol-related.
The use of alcohol is frequently linked with other risky and potentially destructive behaviors, such as physical and emotional violence, sexual mistakes or misjudgments, unintentional injuries such as drowning and falls and of course, alcohol overdose. It takes only one such incident to turn what should be an event that is remembered forever as a celebration into a tragedy.
Prom should be celebrated as an alcohol- and substance-free event, which takes the combined effort of schools, parents, law-enforcement officials, other members of the local community and the students.
Friends can help keep each other safe by pledging to make healthy decisions. Support your friends by speaking up when you see them making questionable choices, especially where drugs and alcohol are involved.
Parents play a key role in creating a safe prom event. Listed below are tips and ideas for parents.
• Research shows that good communication between parents and teenagers can have a positive influence on risk-taking behavior by teens. Teens who report regular, open communication with their parents about important issues say they are more likely to try to live up to their parents’ expectations and less likely to drink and use drugs.
• Discuss rules for the prom: your own rules, the school rules and the consequences for violating the rules.
• Communicate with your student ahead of time about the agenda for the evening.
• Discuss the evening’s curfew and what acceptable after-curfew possibilities there might be (an alcohol- and drug-free post-prom party, inviting friends back home to spend the night under your supervision, etc.)
• Recent studies show that the major source of alcohol for youth is friends and families. Some parents feel that hosting a house party where alcohol is served to minors is safer because they can control it. Allowing these parties is illegal, even with other parents’ consent, and the host parents may be held responsible for consequences that result. Remember, too, that excessive alcohol consumption brings more dangers than just impaired driving.
• Know who is driving. If your teen is riding in a limo, check the company’s policy on allowing alcohol in the vehicle.
• Encourage seat belt use.
• Communicate with other parents about prom plans.
• Stay up for prom-goers’ return home.