It’s high school prom season, which means there’s a lot of excitement and planning going on. There are dresses to buy, tuxes to try on, corsages to order and dinner reservations to be made. These activities haven’t changed much over the years, except for the addition of limousine rentals. However, some teens—and parents—think that having alcohol on prom night is almost a rite of passage and acceptable. But think again.
We know a lot more about alcohol and how it affects teen brains, thanks to extensive research. Studies show that alcohol hurts your brain development in those under 25. Statistics also show that more sexual assaults happen—at the hands of people teens already know—more often when alcohol is involved. And our law enforcement professionals confirm that there are more vehicular accidents involving teens under the influence of alcohol during prom and graduation season.
Teens who aren’t used to alcohol, tend to overdrink. This can lead to nausea or even passing out. They can decide to do things or take risks while under the influence that they wouldn’t normally do. They might even get into a car with someone who’s been drinking or using drugs, or worse, drive themselves. They could also be arrested. And any adult can be arrested if they provide alcohol or drugs to anyone under age 25.
Do you want your teen to have a prom they’ll always remember? Or one they’d rather forget? Here are three great ways to keep your teen safe on prom night.
- Take the time to talk to your teen about not using drugs or alcohol on prom night. Let them know your rules and consequences.
- If they are going to an after prom party, be sure to talk to the parents and make sure there will be adult supervision. Ask if alcohol or marijuana will be provided or allowed.
- If you are hosting a party at your home, make sure prom goers know that alcohol or drug consumption will not be tolerated.
When parents talk to teens about drugs and alcohol, they actually listen. In fact, they are 42% less likely to use drugs or drink alcohol if parents talk to them.
Let’s keep our kids safe on prom night, and for that matter, every night.
Prom is an exciting night for teens. And what happens on prom night will be remembered for the rest of their lives. Here are a few of the mistakes made by many teens on prom night that can turn a special occasion into one they’d rather forget:
- A lot of teens think that’s it’s normal to do drugs and drink alcohol on prom night. In fact, a recent AAA survey of teens found that 41% said it was likely that they or their friends would use drugs or alcohol on prom night. Here’s why that isn’t a good idea. And a study by Liberty Mutual found that 54% of teens that admitted to drinking during or after the prom said they consumed four or more alcoholic beverages.
- One third of all alcohol-related teen traffic fatalities occur between April and June, which is considered the peak of prom season. Accidents are the #1 cause of death for those between ages 12-19 and those involving motor vehicles are the most common.
- Data from Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Chrysler found that 75% of teens felt pressured to use alcohol on prom night and 49% said their friends encouraged them to try drugs during prom.
- 84% of teens surveyed by AAA said their friends would be more likely to get behind the wheel after drinking than to call home for a ride. Another 22&% said they’d ride in a car with someone who was impaired instead of calling their parents.
- According to a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health, the highest incidence of teen intercourse tends to be on Friday and Saturday nights during the spring season or prom season. And 1 in 4 teens will contract a sexually transmitted disease or infection each year, with a high percentage during prom season.
- Teens don’t understand that if they drink or use drugs on prom night and are caught by law enforcement, they could be arrested and end up in jail. This is not a great way to remember prom night for the rest of their lives.
- Talk to your teen about using social media in a responsible way on prom night. The photos that are taken and posted online will live forever, and they don’t want to be put in a compromising or embarrassing situation.
Some high schools host After Prom parties that include refreshments, games, activities and giveaways. They can even last until dawn! However, if your school isn’t hosting one, you might consider throwing an After Prom party at your home. If so, here are great ways for your teens to have fun and still stay out of trouble.
- Keep everyone active and awake. For most teens, the day of prom is a long one, between hair appointments, family send-offs, and last minute arrangement. After prom, it’s easy for them to be fatigued. If you don’t keep them buy, they could nod off.
- Take everyone’s car keys. That way you can be sure that they are awake enough to drive home, and haven’t been indulging in alcohol or drugs.
- Engage some of the teens to be the “entertainment.” Have them take the lead in games, contests or karaoke. There are also vendors that will provide the games and entertainment for After Prom parties.
- Stage activities throughout the venue or your home. That way, no matter which room part-goers are in, there’s something to do, whether it’s yo-yos, party bubbles, games, playing cards or even music and dancing.
- Provide a variety of snacks and non-alcoholic beverages, especially those with caffeine. You could hire a barista to make gourmet coffee drinks, as well.
- Have plenty of chaperones on hand that know what to watch for—dimmed lights, closed doors, alcohol or drugs. Make sure they are all committed to having a safe, fun, alcohol-and-drug-free event.
- Send out communications to parents prior to the event, letting them know that drugs or alcohol will not be tolerated. Let them know there will be chaperones, and if their child breaks the rules, they will be responsible for picking their teen up, regardless of the hour. Be sure to provide a phone number or two that they could use to contact you in the case of an emergency.