Prom night can be stressful for parents. These tips will help you ensure a safe, worry-free evening.
Know the Plan
Make sure your teen has a plan for the evening and that you know it. Ask the following questions and make sure both you and your teen know the answers:
What time does the prom begin and end?
Are you going to dinner beforehand or is there dinner at the prom?
Are you meeting other friends?
Is there an after-party sponsored by the school or at a friend's house? Who will be chaperoning?
How will you be getting to and from dinner/the prom/the after-party?
Know Where the Prom Parties Are
Know all of the "hot spot" destinations for pre- and post-prom parties. Do some research to find out if there will be adults present, whether or not there will be alcohol and who will be invited. You can tell a lot about a party by the kids who will be there.
Work out a safe code with your teen, something she can text you if there's trouble. Some kids simply text an "x" to their parents to indicate that they need to be picked up. The parent then calls with an "emergency" and asks where they can pick up their child, no questions asked.
Take Stock of Your Home
If your teen is having people over, especially if they're kids you haven't met yet, take stock of the alcohol and prescription drugs in your home. You may even want to put them away in a place that isn't easy to access.
You trust your teen, but it's always best to be on the safe side when it comes to other teens.
If it's a limo, make sure it's a reputable company with properly screened drivers. If a friend or date is driving, make sure you know and trust their driving record.
If your teen isn't driving, and you can't pick them up in a pinch, make sure they have the number of a local cab company or they know how to hail an Uber or Lyft.
You're doing a lot of planning to make sure your teen is safe, giving them options to get out of sticky situations. But your they should understand that there are consequences for breaking school, and your own, rules.
Set boundaries and even a curfew, and discuss them well before the big day. Make sure your teen understands what will happen if they break the rules.
Encourage Car Safety
There are going to be all kinds of distractions on prom night. If your teen is driving, make sure they understand the consequences of things like texting, putting on makeup and even talking to passengers while driving.
If they're carpooling with friends, make sure there will only be one passenger per seat belt in the car, and that no one is bringing along alcohol for the ride.
Nix Hotel Parties
Do not rent hotel rooms for prom-goers.
It may seem like a good way to keep them off the roads, especially if the prom is far from home. But a hotel room for teens is a recipe for disaster.
At best, you'll be responsible for anything broken, stolen or taken out of the mini-fridge. At worst you'll have an out-of control party and an angry hotel manager on your hands.
Talk to Other Adults
Communicate with other parents and school officials. Make sure you're all on the same page as far as transportation, parties and the prom itself goes.
Stay Up Late
If you can, stay up until your prom-goer safely returns home. You'll want to be able to answer any texts or calls, and you'll want to make sure they get home when they said they would.
If for some reason you can't stay up, designate an adult you trust to be a point of contact and lookout for your teen.