Indiana University Bloomington

Indiana Prevention Resource Center (IPRC)

Prom Season-How to Keep your Teen Safe

Going to the prom is a rite of passage for many teen-agers. This includes the rituals of shopping for dresses and tuxedos, choosing flowers, and the restaurant as well as what to do after the prom is over. While most of these decisions are quite easy for adolescents to make, there are other more complicated choices that parents and their teenagers need to confront. These decisions include setting curfew times and discussing dilemmas teens may face surrounding drinking and driving, drug use and sexual activity.

For parents, having discussions about topics such as drugs and sexual activity might be difficult however, having these conversations are critical for teen’s safety. If a teen understands the boundaries set for their activities on prom night as well as the importance of developing their own codes for safe and responsible behavior, anxiety levels for parents and teens are reduced. An easy way to start communicating about these topics is to simply ask teens what their plans for prom night include. Parents should be aware of whom they are riding with, where they are going and what their after prom plans involve.

Let teens know that if someone has been drinking or doing drugs and driving that they should call a parent at any time for a ride home. Set a curfew time that makes the parent and teen comfortable. Make teens aware that saying no to pressure from friends to drink, take drugs or have sex is an acceptable response and a normal thing to do.
By setting clear boundaries and letting your teen know you trust them to make safe decisions, prom night can be less worrisome for parents and more fun for teens. For more prom safety tips please visit the Centers for Diseases Control and Preventions (CDC) website at http://www.cdc.gov/family/prom/

By Courtney Stewart,   5/2/2011