We are entering Prom season, the time of the year that most high school seniors dream of. It is indeed a very exciting time for teens, but typically a very stressful time for parents. A senior prom should be a memorable and special time, but as parents it is our responsibility to ensure our children are safe. I think back to my senior prom and what I remember "haunts" me; as I am now a parent and pray that my children will be safe and return home.
During our prom over a decade ago someone was killed. One of the guys took his date to a local pier. The pier is about 200 feet long and starts on the beach and extends into the Gulf of Mexico. While out on the pier that night a strange man appeared. In a moments time he hit the teenager in the head with a pipe, then sexually assaulted his date. Just like that he was killed and the young ladies life changed forever.
They only get one senior prom, I understand this, but we (parents) have to make sure that our kids are safe. With that said, start by talking with your teen(s). Make sure they understand that you want them to have a great and memorable time. Also make sure they understand that you have their safety and well being as your central focus.
Before anyone goes anywhere you will need them to provide the complete itinerary for the night. This should be detailed and include whom they will be with, where they will be going before and after the prom and several phone number where they can be contacted. Again, this needs to be a very detailed and specific itinerary, general responses should not be accepted. If your teen says after the prom they plan to just "drive around" you must demand the specifics.
It's a big night but what should their curfew be. As parents' we need to consider things such as our teens responsibility level, the level of trust you have in them and past history. Make sure they realize that if you set the curfew at 12 midnight, you expect them to be home and if not there will be consequences. Talk to your kids about topics such as drinking, drugs, sex driving drunk, etc. I really believe effective, honest communication is a key. Ask your teen(s) how they plan to stay safe and avoid dangerous situations that could affect the rest of their lives.
Even if their track record has not been so good, use this opportunity to express your belief in them, their integrity and character. You as a parent need to discuss and set clear expectations for the night and the both the consequences or rewards associated with their actions.
If they are not driving, find out who will be. Schedule time to meet with that person and your teen(s). You may have discussed the dangers of drinking and driving hundreds of times with your children, but you need to do it again. Let them know that prom is one of the main times that teen(s) choose to abuse drugs and alcohol. Get a written commitment that no one with drink or take drugs and drive.
Most kids do not come home directly following the prom, instead it is common to have some type of after party. If this is the case, you need to make sure you establish way(s) to contact them AT ALL TIMES until they get home. In addition, you kid(s) and their friends should have multiple contact information for you and you need to make yourself available all night. Again, it is non negotiable, you must know where your kids are and who they will be with.
Now that you know where they are supposed to be it's your job and responsibility to contact that parent(s) or establishment and establish the importance of overall safety for the kids. Now you need to set up a few mandatory check in calls that your children must make at the agreed upon times.
Make sure they know that no matter what you are available to them. They should understand that whatever situation they might find themselves in they can and should call for help or advise. Most of all tell your kids how much you love them and just want the best for them.
For overall safety consider providing them with a personal alarm or good pepper spray product. This will provide peace of mind for you as well as them. Finally, use role playing or different scenarios to teach you kids how you would expect them to act if faced with a difficult situation(s). The use of role playing can be very beneficial to strengthening the relationship between you and your kid(s).
Guardian Self Defense & Security LLC